THE Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert for Thursday warning of strong winds in the North West, which are expected to whip up as the day goes on.

The forecasters predict that Westerly winds will increase today to produce gusts of 50-60mph, perhaps as high as 70mph on exposed coasts and hills.

The weather service say that the strongest winds will move into Northern England by early afternoon.

The winds should then gradually ease across all areas during Thursday evening.

Yesterday the gales peaked at speeds of more than 60mph recorded at Crosby, the closest observation centre to St Helens.