Tail End Of Hurricane Bertha Hits South Coast

Lashing rain and fierce winds have battered parts of south west Britain as the remnants of Hurricane Bertha sweep across the country.

Winds gusting at almost 50mph struck Cornwall this morning, while nearly a month's rainfall was dumped over parts of Wales in just one night.

The former hurricane tore through the Caribbean early last week and has now brought Britain's warm, balmy summer to an abrupt end.

Torrential downpours broke out over Wales, where 31mm of rain fell on the port of Milford Haven in the 12 hours until 7am - the average rainfall for the whole of August is 40mm.

Hampshire and Dorset also saw heavy rain and strong winds, which have brought down some trees.

Brittany Ferries has cancelled sailings from Portsmouth to Cherbourg and Le Havre. Isle of Wight ferry services are also disrupted with the following Wightlink sailings cancelled:

1235 & 1535 from Lymington

1350 & 1650 from Yarmouth

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race was meant to leave from Cowes on the Isle of Wight today - it's been delayed until 9am tomorrow.

There are fears the rainfall could trigger further floods, and 13 alerts are in place across the south west, south east, east of England and the Midlands.

Met Office yellow weather warnings telling people to ``be aware'' of rainfall for England, Wales and Scotland have now also been extended to Northern Ireland.

Rachael Vince, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: ``It is more of an autumnal storm. The rainfall is fairly persistent over the Midlands, north east and north west of England. While there is more showery rain in the south and west of England and Wales.''

She said most of Britain could be hit by 25mm of rain over the day, while the mountainous beauty spot of Snowdonia in Wales could be deluged by 50mm of water.

Britons were warned to batten down the hatches as powerful gusts reaching up to 60mph are expected to hit the south west, south and east of England as the eye of the storm moves across central England and up to the north east.

The Red Cross has mobilised hundreds of volunteers who are on standby to help anyone affected by the storm.

Turbulent weather already wreaked havoc across the east coast of Britain on Friday night, leaving many homes flooded and causing power cuts in 1,400 properties.

Fire crews in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire battled to pump gallons of water out of swamped properties, while marooned drivers had to abandon their cars as they became stuck in flooded roads.

Ms Vince said that after basking in a glorious heatwave for much of July, the curse of the typical British summer had struck again.

She said: ``We did have that heatwave in July, so it is feeling distinctly more autumnal this week as a whole.

``But it is a typical British summer - really a bit of rain in August is nothing unusual.

``The centre of the storm will have passed over the coast of Britain by 5pm or 6pm. But we are in an unsettled spell of weather for this week with showers and perhaps some thunderstorms through the rest of the week.''

Temperatures will hit highs of 23 degrees centigrade in the south east today, and hover in the mid-teens in the north of England and Scotland.

But the wind and rain will make most of the country feel far cooler.

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