UK power market set to open to strong storm on Monday
* Winds of over 80 mph expected
* Wind power output to reach 5,000 MW
* But Met Office warns of power disruptions
By Henning Gloystein
LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Britain's power and gas markets are in for a stormy start to the week on Monday as heavy rain and winds forecast at up to 80 miles per hour (mph) threaten to disrupt power lines and could cause regional outages.
Britain's Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for Sunday night for the East Midlands, the East of England, London and South East England, South West England, Wales and the West Midlands.
"A very intense low pressure system is forecast to run northeastwards across England and Wales early on Monday, bringing the potential for an exceptionally windy spell for southern parts of the UK. At the same time, persistent, heavy rain could cause some surface water flooding, while the winds will lead to some very large waves around our coasts," the Met Office said.
"The public should be prepared for the risk of falling trees as well as damage to buildings and other structures, bringing disruption to transport and power supplies," it warned and added that there remained slight uncertainty in the timing, intensity and track of the low.
Meteorologists said they expected wind speeds to reach 60-70 mph widely and locally over 80 mph, especially on exposed coasts, and that 20 to 40 millimetres of rain might fall within six to nine hours, leading to localised flooding, especially where drainage is impeded by wind-blown debris.
Strong winds increase available power capacity as wind turbines produce more electricity, which tends to pull down prices especially during the early morning hours before electricity use at offices picks up during trading hours.
Analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said that Britain's wind power generation would rise to around 5,000 megawatts (MW) on Monday, equivalent to the output of five standard European nuclear power stations, and up from under 3,000 MW at the end of last week.
Stormy weather could also deter liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers from berthing at Britain's two main import terminals at the Isle of Grain in Kent and at Milford Haven in Wales, both of which lie in the predicted path of the storm.
But one tanker, the Qatari Mozah, is currently at Milford Haven but will probably have delivered its LNG into the terminal's tanks before the storm arrives at full strength. The next one, Qatar's Zarga, is not due to arrive until Oct. 31.
There is currently no tanker at the Isle of Grain, and no imports are expected this week.
(editing by Jane Baird)
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