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Storm Barra: Thousands left without power - with 60mph winds forecast to hit UK

Coastal communities were warned to take care when walking close to piers and harbours, with huge waves hitting seaside towns in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

The waves were so large in the village of Borth in Ceredigion, mid-Wales, that locals were asked to avoid the area completely.

Met Office forecasters said Storm Barra is not expected to cause as much chaos as Storm Arwen - though it has already sparked travel delays and school closures in Scotland.

Spokeswoman Nicky Maxey said: "We are not expecting the impacts of Barra to be as bad as we saw with Arwen.

"Storm Barra will bring strong winds and heavy rainfall to many parts of the UK today. We may see some snow on the higher ground, too.

"It is unlikely to be as impactful as Storm Arwen last week but there will be blustery conditions so people should still be prepared."

Forecasters have said Storm Barra may be a "weather bomb", an unofficial phenomenon when the central pressure in a low pressure system falls 24 millibars in 24 hours, known as explosive cyclogenesis. 

It comes after thousands of homes lost power for up to 10 days in the wake of 100mph winds and lashing rain at the end of November, leaving some unable to access basic supplies. Northern Powergrid has not confirmed whether all homes were connected by Tuesday night as promised.

ScotRail has warned that some Wednesday services will be cancelled due to the storm. 

Temperatures will be mild for the time of year on Wednesday, with London predicted to see 7C, 8C in Cardiff, 4C for Edinburgh and 6C in Belfast.

The Environment Agency has issued six flood warnings for England, meaning flooding is expected, at locations including the Dorset and Somerset coasts.  As of Wednesday morning, 63 flood alerts were in force across the country for areas where flooding is possible. 

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has sent 11 flood alerts and five warnings for areas in the north-east of Scotland and the south-west. Natural Resources Wales has also issued 12 flood warnings and 11 alerts, mainly covering coastal areas.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said around 1,000 customers remained without power across the north of Scotland, with 700 of these in the Grampian area, at 8am on Wednesday.

It has restored power to more than 8,000 customers following Storm Barra and engineers are working to reconnect the rest.

Schools in Dumfries and Galloway were forced to close because of the latest storm. Stranraer Academy was shut after the wind caused structural damage to the roof, the council said, and Drummore School closed after trees were blown down.

Power has only just been restored to the last of the homes in the north-east of England that were cut off by Arwen. Northern Powergrid said on Tuesday it had reconnected 240,000 homes and businesses, calling the storm "the worst in over 20 years".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Commons earlier: "We must learn the lessons from storms Arwen and Barra and make sure nothing like that happens again."

In pictures: Storm Barra hits the UK

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Thousands of homes were without power on Wednesday morning, as fresh warnings for strong winds, heavy rain and snow are issued for the final trail of Storm Barra battering Britain.

Dozens of flood alerts have been issued across the UK, while communities in the North East and Scotland begin to recover from the catastrophic effects of Storm Arwen, which brought 100mph gales. 

Some 3,200 homes in north-east Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have lost power in the second named storm of the winter season, with around 1,000 still in the dark in Scotland.

Storm Barra, described as a "weather bomb", moved in from the west on Tuesday and is set to sweep the country once more on Wednesday before departing for the North Sea. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the body of 80-year-old Venetia Smith was found by police in the flooded River Stour in Blandford, Dorset. Police believed Ms Smith, who had gone missing at around 11am, may have fallen from a bridge. 

Schools have closed in Ireland where 56,000 homes and business had lost power on Tuesday.

A yellow weather warning for winds of up to 60mph is in place until 6pm on Wednesday for the west coast of Wales and south-west England, which could bring travel disruption and power cuts. 

Aberdaron in Gwynedd, Wales, which is covered by the warning, was battered by gales of 86mph on Tuesday, while Orlock Head in Co Down, N Ireland, faced 76mph gusts.

In Wales, a school closed after high winds ripped off part of its roof. Bryngwyn Comprehensive School in Llanelli shut on Tuesday afternoon following gusts of more than 70mph. No one was injured.