Storm Debi sparks UK tornado warning – while Brits suffer hay fever hell

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    A tornado might be about to hit – as sniffling Brits suffer with the discomfort of hay fever usually seen in summer.

    Thousands are now suffering almost all year round, with allergy experts say the debilitating condition now stretches well into the autumn. The phenomenon, called Autumn Sneezing Syndrome, is said to be caused by changing pollen patterns as well as an invasive plant called ragweed.

    Previous studies previously suggested only a small number of people got hay fever allergies during the autumn. These were caused by increased levels of mould and fungal spores, often found in piles of rotting leaves, grass cuttings, compost heaps and garden sheds.

    READ MORE: Weather maps warn Brits over sub-zero freeze set to grip UK in just hours

    For the latest news and updates on illnesses and wild weather from across the country, click here.

    But Dr Adrian Morris, of Surrey Allergy Clinic, said the number of people affected was increasing due to allergic reactions caused by ragweed, which sheds its pollen later in the year than most plants.

    Brits suffering from hay fever have another problem to contend with: a severe weather forecast is in place on tornado watching websites who say a "rapidly deepening Atlantic low" will bring about "very high winds" which could bring "one or two tornadoes" as well as 100mph winds, The Mirror reported.

    It means a strange juxtaposition for Brits. Dr Morris said: "Usually you get hay fever starting with the tree pollens in March and April and then grass pollens from May to August, then that was the end of it for most people. But now we get people affected well into the autumn."

    Ragweed is native to America, but has spread across Europe and has now reached Britain. Margaret Kennedy, who suffers from Autumn Sneezing Syndrome, says her fits are so violent they leave her feeling sore.

    She said: "I’ve had ten sneezes in a row. I have a box of tissues in each room of the house as my nose drips profusely." Experts say help is at hand and can be bought at most supermarkets.

    Thomas Jacques, an ear, nose and throat surgeon from the London Nose And Sinus Clinic, recommended antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays.

    He said: "There are a lot of people out there suffering unnecessarily because they are not aware there are things available in the shops that could help."

    It comes as a storm double whammy from the US will see two 500 mile-wide tempests hit Brits this week. Storm Debi will bring 80mph winds today while another threatening on Thursday is set to be named Storm Elin.

    Debi will hit the north with gusts up to 80mph and downpours, and the south west with 20ft waves. And the Met Office warned of "very windy" conditions again on Thursday.

    Gusts up to 75mph on west coasts are shown on computer forecasts, blowing in across the Atlantic from the USA. The Met Office will name Storm Elin when the next Atlantic weather system has potential for amber warnings for wind, with rain impacts also considered.

    The Environment Agency warned of more floods. Thursday’s tempest is set to become a "weather bomb" as it strengthens suddenly as air pressure plunges. Another bout of gales is also set to hit at the weekend.

    A Met Office forecaster said: “We are expecting significant impacts from Storm Debi. And it could be very windy on Thursday. Spells of wet and windy weather ahead will cross most areas, especially southern and western parts.

    "Further areas of low pressure may develop and affect the UK during the coming week."

    Rain is forecast every day for the next 10 days by BBC Weather in the North, and for eight of the next 10 days in the South. Ground is already sodden from downpours in previous weeks.

    The Environment Agency said: "Groundwater flooding is possible in the South throughout the next five days." It was Remembrrr-ance Sunday as a 300-mile wide tongue of icy air from the Arctic brought -6C lows.

    Yesterday (Sun) saw the first near-nationwide frost since last winter, with snow in Scotland on high ground. And BBC Weather said: "Showers on Thursday could be wintry over higher elevations in north Wales and northern England as chillier air moves in."

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