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Flooding rain, damaging winds aim for western Europe into Saturday

Storms will take aim at western Europe into this weekend, returning the danger of flooding rain and damaging winds.

Instead of targeting the United Kingdom, storms will track back-to-back into western Europe Friday into Saturday evening.

The storm on Saturday will be more potent than the others, but all will contribute to slower travel and hazards.

The first storm will move in from the Atlantic Ocean and cause rain to spread across France, Spain and Portugal on Friday. Rain from the second storm will then move in a similar fashion Friday night into Saturday with more rain to follow for later Saturday from southern France to northern Portugal.

"The rain will fall as burying snow in the French Alps with amounts totaling 30-90 cm (1-3 feet)," AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards said.

While the steadiest rain will likely fizzle out before reaching the eastern coast of Spain, there will be little, if any, break between the rounds of rain for southwestern France, northern Spain and northern Portugal.

As the rain persists, the risk of flooding will increase in Bordeaux and Toulouse, France, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and Porto, Portugal.

The most serious flooding will likely threaten northern Portugal and the Galicia region of Spain where widespread rain amounts of 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) are expected into Saturday evening. Runoff from such rain will easily flood low-lying and urban areas and lead to rapid rises on streams and rivers.

Mudslides and road closures are possible. To avoid a potentially dangerous situation, remember never to attempt to drive through flood waters.

While the flood danger will be greatest to the south, the risk of damaging winds will be highest in France from Saturday's storm. The Bretagne and coastal Pays de la Loire regions of France will face the strongest wind gusts of 95-120 km/h (60-75 mph).

The winds threaten to cause numerous incidents of tree damage and power cuts. Trees that were weakened during Storm Imogen and those that sit in saturated soil will be more susceptible to being brought down during Saturday's storm.

Drivers of high-sided vehicles will also face dangerous crosswinds, while flight delays are possible.

Seas in the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel, especially western areas, will become dangerously rough for boaters and beachgoers.

"Moderate coastal flooding may develop with the threat greatest along the west-facing coast of the Bay of Biscay," Richards said. The risk of coastal flooding will be highest with Saturday's high tide but cannot be ruled out during any high tide into this weekend.

While the strongest winds will gradually subside as Saturday's storm tracks eastward across France, gusts of 65-80 km/h (40-50 mph) may still lead to sporadic power cuts and tree damage in Nancy and Strasbourg. How far north the storm tracks will determine if Paris is also at risk for such winds.

Pilot aborts landing at last second because of heavy winds from Storm Imogen

The end of the storminess for western Europe will not come with Saturday evening.

Yet another storm is expected to impact southern France, Spain and Portugal later in the weekend with blustery winds and periods of rain, potentially leading to new or worsening flooding problems.

"This will be a colder storm that will lead to snow in the Pyrenees and Cantabrian Mountains," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jim Andrews said.

Residents heading out to celebrate Valentine's Day on Sunday evening will definitely want to bundle up. AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures will be much lower than actual temperatures due to the windy conditions.