Festivals put back their opening times, tents were ripped up and campers were told to ‘pack up and go’ as the first major storm of the summer swept in from the Atlantic today, bringing winds of up to 75mph and torrential rain.
Storm Evert battered Britain with the Met Office warning it ‘will get worse before it gets better’ – as tents and awnings collapsed at Camp Bestival in Dorset and organisers delayed opening the public arenas and gates.
Staycationers were warned to take extra care while camping and driving on coastal roads as the storm blew into the South West of the country, as it continued to gather pace this morning and sweep east along the south coast.
In Cornwall, guests at the Bedruthan Steps Campsite were moved to a field which is better protected from the wind, while Sarah Weeks from clifftop glamping site Seaview Tipis told guests to ‘pack up and go’ for their safety.
Meanwhile the three-day Rock Oyster Festival – where Sophie Ellis-Bexter is headlining tomorrow – is under threat and has delayed opening on its site at Dinham House in St Minver, Cornwall, until midday today due to the storm.
An amber ‘danger to life’ wind warning was issue ahead of ‘unseasonably strong winds and heavy rain’. The worst conditions were due in Cornwall, where gusts of between 55mph and 75mph were expected in coastal areas.
Downpours will add to the miserable conditions for the thousands of families on holiday in the county. The winds will spread across South Wales and into South East England today, before easing off towards the evening.
Forecasters warned of possible damage to buildings, fallen trees, power cuts and cancellations to rail, air and ferry services, as the storm brings a ‘wet and windy start’ to today for the southern and central regions.
Evert is the first named storm since Darcy in February. A Dutch boy’s name meaning ‘shepherd’, it was chosen by Holland’s KNMI forecasting service, which works with the Met Office to name storms in western Europe.
Steven Keates, a meteorologist from the Met Office, said: ‘The wind will get worse before it gets better.
Storm Evert causes major damage to the campsite at Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle in Wareham, Dorset, this morning
The storm caused many tents and awnings to collapse during the night at the Camp Bestival site in Dorset, pictured today
Tents have collapsed at Camp Bestival in Dorset overnight – with the opening of the public arena delayed this morning
Storm Evert caused damage to tents at Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle in Wareham, Dorset, pictured this morning
Tents were ripped up at the campsite at Camp Bestival in Dorset this morning after strong winds struck the area
Camp Bestival organisers delayed the opening of the site in Dorset today following strong winds that damaged tents
Campers have gathered at Lulworth Castle in Dorset for Camp Bestival but it was hit by strong winds this morning
Organisers at Camp Bestival in Dorset have delayed the opening to the public arenas and gates on the site
‘The highest gust of wind is on the Isles of Scilly, which is 45 knots or 52mph. There is the potential for 60mph in coastal areas of west Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
‘There is the chance of seeing something a little stronger than that from midnight to 3am, where as per the amber warning, there is the chance of seeing gusts of up to 75mph in one or two very exposed coastal spots, mainly in Cornwall.’
The three-day Rock Oyster Festival is under threat and has delayed opening on its site at Dinham House in Cornwall
An amber weather warning has been issued for south-west England, with the Met Office saying Storm Evert will bring strong winds to the region, potentially causing damage to infrastructure and leading to travel disruption.
This could include damage to buildings, fallen trees and a ‘good chance’ that power cuts could occur, which could affect other services such as mobile phone coverage.
The warning, which is currently in place until this morning, also says large waves, flying debris and beach material being thrown on to roads and seafronts could lead to injuries or ‘danger to life’.
History teacher Laura J, from Tewkesbury, Glos, tweeted a video clip this morning showing her family’s holiday tent in Cornwall being battered by Storm Evert.
She said: ‘My husband has been amazing. Literally guarding the door. Outside every hour…checking pegs and ropes and moving the cars. Utterly terrifying. Who thought camping in Cornwall would be a good idea? #StormEvert… We’ve been up all night.
‘Thankfully girls are asleep and tent are OK. Many whose holidays have been cut short. Few more hours to survive…. Absolute carnage out there. Imagine Wizard of Oz. But worse.’
Another Cornwall holiday camper, Liberty Williams, tweeted: ‘Here I am in 65mph winds in a two-man tent about to face #StormEvert.’
Dark clouds as a dog walker makes their way along Polzeath beach in Cornwall this morning amid the very windy conditions
Karen Higgins tweeted ‘There are two types of people on our campsite, those drinking wine and those who are packing.’
Weather forecast for today and this weekend
Today: Today will be unsettled and gusty across southern England and Wales, with showers and spells of heavy rain. The rain will gradually clear east leaving a bright afternoon but with a few heavy showers. Mostly cloudy across Northern Ireland and Scotland, with fewer showers here. Gentle northerly winds.
Tonight: Into the evening, the rain and showers will continue to clear to the east of the UK, leading to a dry and mostly clear night across England and Wales. However cloud and some showery outbreaks of rain will linger across north-east England and Scotland. Misty in Northern Ireland. Light westerly winds.
Tomorrow: Tomorrow will see some bright or sunny spells across England and Wales. However showers will develop here in the afternoon, some heavy with thunder. It will stay cloudier in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with a light shower still possible, especially across north-east England. Gentle westerly winds.
Sunday: More patchy rain on Sunday for northern England as an area of drizzle will move southwards through the day, fading as it does so. Showers will once again form in southern England. Mostly dry but cloudy elsewhere.
Monday: Monday will be dry for much of the UK with variable cloud, some showers in the south.
And Alex Whittaker said: ‘Go camping in the UK they said. It will be just like France they said. #Staycation #StormEvert.’
Meanwhile the A381 Totnes bypass in Devon was blocked due to landslip between Harpers Hill and Plymouth Road.
Torrential rain has loosened the roadside sub-soil and tons of earth has crashed on to the carriegway but there are no reports of injurie and traffic is said to be ‘coping well’.
As police pleaded with motorists to slow down in the heavy rain, there were reports of a collision involving a car and a truck on the A38 at Liskeard shortly before 7am today.
Flooding and stormy weather has already led to disruption in some parts of the country.
Cumbria County Council said 14 properties have been evacuated and some roads and footpaths have been closed due to a landslip in Parton, west Cumbria.
The Environment Agency has six flood alerts for areas including parts of south London and an area on the Isle of Wight.
The naming of Storm Evert comes on the day the Government announced that more than £860 million is to be invested in flood prevention schemes across the UK over the next year.
Evert is the first storm to be named in the month of July by the Met Office’s storm naming group, although named summer storms are not unprecedented.
In 2020, Storm Ellen hit from August 19 to 20, before Storm Francis moved over the UK on August 25.
The last named storm was Darcy, which battered the UK over five months ago towards the start of February.
Thousands of drivers across the country will be setting off for staycations across the UK ahead of this weekend, after children broke up for their six-week school summer holidays on Monday.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘The arrival of a summer storm to the South West could take drivers – and indeed all holidaymakers in the region – by surprise.
‘The sheer strength of the wind coupled with huge volumes of traffic will make driving conditions hazardous, particularly for those towing caravans and trailers.
‘We strongly recommend drivers check over their vehicles before setting out – ensuring roofboxes are firmly secured – and try to avoid exposed coastal and moorland routes where the impacts of the wind on driving will be the greatest.
‘Drivers should reduce their speeds accordingly to help ensure they complete their journeys safely.’
The first named storm of the summer follows two hikers being rushed to hospital after being struck by lightning on the summit of Snowdon in Wales when freak-weather hit the region on Wednesday.
Rescuers said one of the women was bleeding and ‘falling in and out of consciousness’ when they arrived on the 3,560ft-peak at 1.47pm.
North Wales Police were called and volunteer crews from Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team were sent along with the Coast Guard rescue helicopter.
One of the walkers sustained minor injuries during the incident while the other sustained serious injuries.
Meanwhile, forecasters have warned that scorching summers of 104F (40C) will become the UK’s new ‘normal’ by the end of the century.
The alarming prediction came as experts warned that temperature and rainfall records are being smashed at a ‘shocking’ rate in Britain.
Scientists fear the rate of global warming is spiralling out of control, saying that ‘climate change is happening and it’s happening now’.
The hottest temperature recorded in the UK stands at 101.6F (38.7C) in Cambridge in 2019.
But the jump to 104F (40C) could come within the decade and become a regular occurrence every three to four years by the end of the century.
Data from the annual State Of The UK Climate report showed that last year was the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest year on record – the first ever to fall into the top ten in all three categories.