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UK winter forecast: Damaging windstorms to lash areas hit hard last year

A stormy winter is in the offing for the United Kingdom this year with rain and wind set to batter the British Isles even before the season's official start.

AccuWeather forecasters are calling for 15-18 named storms between October 2016 and April 2017; however, the most active period will occur from December to February.

After a brief lull in windstorms during November, the threat will once again pick up in December, with some weeks bringing the potential for multiple named systems.

"The greatest wind threat is expected across Northern Ireland, Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, and Northern England," AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

Significant but less frequent damaging wind events may also impact the remainder of the U.K.

The biggest threats from any windstorm will be tree damage, power cuts and coastal flooding, especially at high tide - all of which can lead to transportation delays and cancellations.

Dashing the hopes of many after last year's devastating floods in northern England, heavy rainfall will accompany many storm systems over the course of the season.

Storm-wary North West England will face the highest threat for flooding, along with South West Scotland, southern Wales and South West England, according to Roys.

"London, Bristol and Birmingham, even though they are not in the greatest risk area, they could see isolated flooding from any given storm," he said.

Frequent systems from the Atlantic Ocean will help to keep winter temperatures at bay, with near- to above-normal temperatures predicted for the season overall.

"The warmer winter will help with electricity bills, especially in December," Roys said.

The short supply of cold air will also limit snowfall throughout the season.

Ski resorts in Scotland and northern England will struggle at the start of winter with any decent snowfall not expected until later in the season.

The greatest chances for low-elevation flakes will occur during the season's few, brief shots of cold air.

London may receive as many as a week's worth of days where snowflakes fly, while cities farther north, like Birmingham, could see up to a dozen.

Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Jillian MacMath at or follow her on Twitter @Jillian_MacMath. Follow AccuWeather @breakingweather, or on Facebook.