Christmas decorations are already hitting stores across the UK as summer draws to a close and the country braces for a week of storms with the arrival of autumn.
Shoppers were reportedly horrified yesterday after spotting Christmas wrapping paper, lights and decorations in UK stores in August, two months before Halloween.
Among these stores was the large Paperchase section of Birmingham’s Selfridges department store.
Dozens of festive boxes, bows, wrappers, ribbons, cards, balls and crackers lined the shelves in colors including red, green, silver and gold.
Alongside the decorative items were Christmas-themed gifts including tiny festive trees, Christmas puddings, sleighs, gingerbread and nutcrackers.
A shocked shopper said: ‘I can’t believe there is Christmas stuff in August.
“We haven’t even had the end of the school holidays yet, let alone Halloween or Bonfire Night.
“It seems that Christmas comes earlier every year.
“It almost makes it less exciting. We still have months ahead of us.
This is because the majority of stores haven’t even started selling Halloween decorations yet.
Meanwhile, the arrival of meteorological autumn today in early September brings a week of torrential rains, gales and thunderstorms.
Snowmen, reindeer and giant illuminated trees are already on sale in Birmingham – before most shops have even started selling Halloween costumes
Paperchase in Birmingham Selfridges is already stocked with decorations, wrapping paper and storage boxes
The rising trend of Christmas boxes, rather than Christmas wrappers, is encouraged by Paperchase and is much better for the environment as the boxes can be reused
Selfridges’ Christmas display takes pride of place in the store’s Paperchase branch, and even has a wreath of baubles
The Met Office said most of the country would be hit by bad weather and heavy rain as the jet stream approached the UK, with worst-hit areas likely to be flooded.
Christmas cookies, gingerbread men and gingerbread house themed cards are just a few of the festive items on display at the end of August.
Felt sleigh and sprout bags, Christmas card making kits, themed notebooks and pens can also be bought from stores across the UK.
The traditional wooden tree decorations are now available in UK stores, along with the more unusual pom pom balls from Paperchase.
Today sees a miserable start to the month as heavy rain and lightning is expected to hit the UK over the next week.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland for Saturday as stormy weather arrives on British shores.
Temperatures are also set to drop over the next week from the mid summer twenties to the mid teens as stormy weather hits the UK.
The north of the country is expected to see highs of 18C this weekend, with heavy rain expected, while the south could see highs of 21C and less heavy but persistent rain.
Temperatures will drop further from early next week.
Flooding is expected in the worst affected areas, especially where the ground remains hardened by months of dry and hot weather.
The Met Office has warned that flooding could cause serious disruption and damage over the next week as the whole country is hit by downpour – adding that a month’s worth of rain could fall in parts of the country.
Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon told the MailOnline that some “remote parts” of the UK could see between 75 and 100 millimeters of rain in just 24 hours this weekend, causing flooding and “conditions difficult journeys”.
The UK is set to see a lot more of these gloomy skies after months of very little rainfall led to drought across large parts of England and Wales
Storms this fall and winter are expected to disrupt public transportation and cause hazards as they have in previous years
Mr Dixon added that it was a dramatic contrast to the average rainfall in the UK in September, which is around 90mm.
He said “isolated places could see up to a month of rain in a short period of time”, with other parts of the country facing high winds and thunderstorms.
Mr. Dixon added: “Saturday and Sunday some areas could see between 75mm and 100mm of rain over a 24 hour period.
“So quite heavy rainfall for some areas is possible, but the details on that are still being worked out. We will have more certainty in the next few days.
“These heavy showers are coming in from the south on Friday and gradually moving north, parts of the northern UK could see high totals on Saturday.”
“This volatile theme continues through the weekend with wind and rain early next week as well.”
“Where these heavy showers fall there is a risk of disturbance, and with these higher amounts of precipitation I think it is fair to say that there is potential for surface water flooding and harsh travel conditions.”
Heavy rain is particularly forecast for Sunday as a jet stream is expected to soak the vast majority of the UK for at least a week.
The deluge comes as many children return to school after the summer holidays in England and Wales.
The storms could pose a serious flood risk after a summer that saw drought declared across much of the south of the UK.
This left the hardened soil as less absorbent, meaning water is more likely to flood the surface, impacting roads and railways.
Scotland is expected to be hit by strong winds from Saturday, with heavy rain in the south west of the country. As temperatures drop to 0C, there could even be frost in parts of the Scottish Highlands as early as next Wednesday.
Northern Ireland and northern England are also experiencing a long spell of heavy rain as the jet stream hits next week.
However, despite the downpours, the Environment Agency said it was still unlikely to be enough to replenish rivers dried up by this summer’s record drought.
In another announcement from the Met Office today, the names of the season’s storms have been released, ready to be assigned as weather fronts approach UK shores.
They include Betty, Fleur, Ide, Loes, Owain, Priya, and Val.
Names of upcoming storms
A storm is named when it has the potential to cause an orange warning – stipulated by the possibility of road and rail closures, power outages and the potential risk of death – or a red warning when it is “very probable” that there will be a risk of life