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NATIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP: Yellow weather warning for Storm Barra AND over 40s can now book their booster jabs three months after their second dose


Storm Barra is expected to bring ice, wind and rain – which could cause flooding for parts of the UK on Wednesday.

Dozens of flood warnings have been issued across the UK, while communities in the North East and Scotland begin to recover from the catastrophic effects of Storm Arwen.

Thousands of homes lost power for up to 10 days in the wake of 100mph winds and lashing rain at the end of November.

Northern Powergrid has not confirmed whether all homes were connected by Tuesday night as promised.

Storm Barra moved in from the west on Tuesday, and a yellow weather warning for wind is in place from midnight until 6pm on Wednesday for the west coast of Wales and south-west England.

The coronavirus vaccine booking system has been extended as the Omicron variant sweeps across the UK.

People aged 40 and over are now able to book their booster jab three months after receiving their second dose, instead of the original six months.

The system will also allow people to book their booster a month in advance and means an additional seven million people aged 40 and over will be able to book in for their booster and will also be invited two months on from their second dose.

It comes as the Omicron variant sweeps the globe after first being detected in South Africa last month.

There have been 336,893 new Covid-19 cases reported in the past seven days, including 45,691 on Tuesday – the highest since the week to January 16.

Milder, wetter winters could spell “dramatic changes” for the British countryside, the National Trust has warned, with 30,000 ash trees expected to be felled this winter due to disease.

Changed weather patterns caused by climate change are creating ideal conditions for diseases and pests to spread, the trust said.

Meanwhile, trees’ natural defences are more likely to be undermined due to the stress of drought, flooding and high temperatures that they are facing on a more regular basis.

“This could mean dramatic changes to the British countryside as the populations of some species decline,” it said.

The National Trust expects to spend £3 million in the coming months to tackle ash die back – triple the sum spent last year – with between 75% and 95% of UK ash trees forecast to be lost in the next 20 to 30 years.

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