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11/30/2007

Britain set for 'near hurricane' gales this weekend

BRITAIN TO BRACE FOR NEAR HURRICANE FORCE WINDS
U.K.
BRITAIN is facing winds of near-hurricane strength this weekend. Gusts of up to 70mph are forecast for parts of England and Wales tonight and severe gales will continue to lash the country on Sunday. Combined with heavy rain, the windy weather will make driving conditions hazardous and will rattle chimney pots, loosen roof tiles and bring down trees. The stormy start to December follows ONE OF THE DRIEST NOVEMBERS IN A CENTURY. Conditions will be unsettled for the next few days. The windy outlook follows another YEAR OF RECORD-BREAKING WEATHER for Britain – and GROWING SIGNS THAT THE SEASONS ARE BECOMING MUDDLED. Daffodils have bloomed weeks ahead of schedule at the Eden Project near St Austell, Cornwall. Plants and animals are already behaving as if spring has arrived. This autumn, primroses have been flowering in Inverness and roses are out in Perth. There are live tadpoles in Fife and baby newts in Edinburgh. AUTUMN WAS ONE OF THE DRIEST SINCE NATIONWIDE RECORDS BEGAN in 1914 and the DRIEST SINCE 1972. Just 8.1in of rain fell between September and the end of November – compared to the long-term seasonal average of 13.2in. By contrast, summer was THE WETTEST. A total of 14.3in of rain fell – beating the previous record set in 1956. April was the WARMEST ON RECORD, while last winter was THE MILDEST. In June and July, floods swamped thousands of homes across Yorkshire, the Midlands, Wales, the South West and the Thames Valley. The Met Office's long-term weather forecast for winter suggests that temperatures will be slightly above average, and that the season will be wetter than normal. However, it will be colder than last year
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