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Storm With Hurricane-Strength Gusts Lashes UK

uk severe storm
(Image credit: NASA)

The United Kingdom is bracing itself against battering winds, with gusts up to 100 mph (161 kph), which have already flipped trucks and toppled power lines across the country.

The storm is responsible for two deaths and many injuries. Thousands are without power across parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, reported the BBC. The MET Office, the U.K.'s weather agency, has issued severe weather warnings for western regions through tomorrow (Jan. 4).

An image of the wild storm roaring over Britain and moving toward Scandinavia was captured by a NASA satellite, shown above.

"Another spell of wet and windy weather will affect the UK during Wednesday. The public should be aware that heavy rain, accompanied by strong winds, may lead to localized flooding in western areas," according to the MET Office's warning.

The bad weather is due to an active frontal system — the boundary between two different air masses where wild weather is born — moving southeastward across the U.K., according to a statement from the MET's chief forecaster.

Tomorrow (Jan. 4), the system is expected to bring prolonged rain, heavy at times, to northwestern areas during the morning and to many other western regions through the rest of the day.

Several inches of rain are possible over high ground in parts of Wales, northwest England, western Scotland and the north and west of Northern Ireland. Flooding in these parts is a serious concern because the ground is saturated from recent heavy rain.

The storm is wielding hurricane-strength gusts, but it's not a hurricane. Hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of at least 74 mph (119 kph). The region around the British Isles is notoriously windy, but hurricanes don't often hit here. From 1851 to 2010, only 10 extratropical storms, typically the tail ends of tropical cyclones, have hit even within 200 miles (322 kilometers) of Ireland.

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Live Science Staff
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