Severe weather warnings as UK battered by storms

Image caption, Storms and heavy winds are also forecast for later in the week

Storms have been battering the UK, with snow, downpours of rain and winds of up to 65mph (105km/h).

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were worst hit, with the weather bringing disruption to many areas.

A weather warning has now been issued for parts of south-east and south-west England, with up to 70mm (2.75in) of rain expected overnight.

The bad weather in Scotland had left 87 people stranded on a passenger ferry off Aberdeen.

The NorthLink boat Hjaltland was due to dock in the city's harbour at 0700 GMT on Monday, but high winds and rough seas prevented it from doing so.

It has now been diverted to Rosyth on the Firth of Forth.

Drifting snow

Fourteen flood warnings are in place for Wales, the Midlands and the North East.

A flash warning of severe weather is in place for parts of south Wales until 2300 GMT, with heavy showers of more than 20mm (0.8in) locally.

The Met Office says showers and thunderstorms are expected to approach Kent and Sussex from the English Channel in the evening with occasionally thundery rain.

It said heavy rain had replaced earlier snow in Aberdeen, Braemar and Dumfries and Galloway.

BBC forecasters said low pressure had ushered in the first strong autumn storms.

Travelling conditions have been poor across Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and western counties of England.

There was snow on the higher roads such as the A9 at Drumochter in the Highlands and on the M74 north of Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway.

Grampian Police said the A93 Glenshee to Braemar road was closed because of drifting snow and high winds.

But snow triggered optimism in Scotland's ski resorts as flakes began to fall at Lecht in Aberdeenshire and the Cairngorm Mountain resort near Aviemore.

Cairngorm operations manager Colin Matthew said: "We started skiing at the end of November last year, so we hope it's the start of a good year."

In Northern Ireland, motorists were advised to drive with extreme caution after reports of ice, flooding, debris and fallen trees on the roads after overnight storms.

The longer-term forecast is also bleak, with storms and heavy winds likely to return by Thursday or Friday after a brief mid-week respite.

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