Wet and windy weather looks set to spoil chances of a white Christmas in the UK as parts of the country brace for gales and torrential rain.

A weather front moving across the Atlantic will batter the western coast of northern England and Scotland tomorrow night and into Christmas Eve, forecasters said.

Yellow warnings have been issued for rain through the festive period in areas that could see localised flooding, as well as potential travel disruption with trees brought down.

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There has been speculation that the severe weather could be codenamed Storm Eva as part of a new national project to raise public awareness about possible dangers, but meteorologists do not believe the front will be strong enough.

A forecaster at the Met Office told The Independent the weather system hitting the UK tomorrow evening has not been named but that “Eva”, following Storm Desmond, will be used for the next storm expected to have a severe impact.

“We are having some gales and heavy rain coming on Wednesday evening into Christmas Eve,” she said.

“There will be 50-60mph winds along the western coast of the north of England and in north-west Scotland overnight.

“We believe it’s then going to clear away. It isn’t thought to be as severe as we thought it might be a few days ago.”

Warnings for rain and wind have been issued across Scotland for the coming two days, with up to 50mm expected to fall in parts of the Southern Uplands and Highlands, adding to the flood risk when combined with snowmelt caused by above-average temperatures. 

Downpours on Christmas Day are expected to be concentrated in north-west England and parts of Yorkshire, although alerts will be updated by forecasters as more information comes in.

“Christmas Day is looking to have a bright start in the north, where it will be colder and clearer than it has been,” the Met Office said. “In the south it will be wet and the mild and unsettled weather will continue.”

The last official white Christmas was in 2010, when much of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland was blanketed with snow.

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