What is a weather warning?

Last updated at 15:07
car-in-floods.Press Association

When heavy rain, wind or snow are expected, sometimes weather warnings are issues by forecasters.

They are to advise people about the level of care they need to take depending on conditions.

But what does it mean when the Met Office issues a weather warning? And what are the different levels?

friday-and-saturday-weather-warnings.Met Office
What is a weather warning?

The Met Office has different types of weather warnings to make sure that people stay safe when severe weather hits the UK.

This can include heavy rain, snow, wind, fog and ice.

The warnings have different colours depending on how bad - and potentially dangerous - the weather is. These are yellow, amber and red.

What is a red weather warning?

Red is the most serious kind of weather warning that the Met Office can issue.

It means that it is likely that the weather will cause damage, for example to buildings and roads.


People are told to avoid travelling if they can.

A red weather warning means it's expected that there will be problems getting out and about - so buses, trains and flights may be delayed or cancelled altogether.

It could affect power cables which may mean homes in the area have power cuts.

It also means that there could be a risk to people's lives if they are not careful.

The Met Office says that when it issues a red weather warning, people must stay away from areas which could be potentially dangerous, and they should follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.

What is an amber weather warning?

An amber warning is the next level down from a red warning, so the situation is not quite as severe.

Amber means it is quite likely that bad weather will affect people, possibly including travel delays, road and rail closures and power cuts.

ScotRail -engineers-pump-water-from-tunnel.ScotRail
This photo shows engineers pumping water from a train tunnel in Scotland

People should be prepared to change their plans to make sure that everybody stays safe from the impact of the weather.

What is a yellow weather warning?

A yellow warning is the one down from amber, so is the least severe warning of the three.

It means the weather is likely to have some impact, for example travel disruption.

Many people might be able to carry on as normal but others will be directly affected.

People are advised to keep an eye on the latest forecast to work out how much they might be impacted, especially if the weather changes or gets worse.

Normally the Met Office will put out specific advice or issues to watch out for as part of their weather warnings.

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