Stormy gales wash walrus and seals ashore as urgent weather warnings for SNOW and ice kick off 2023


STORMY gales have washed two seals and a walrus up on British shores as urgent weather warnings for snow and ice kick off 2023.

An arctic walrus named Thor was spotted in a Yorkshire harbour, while two grey seal pups ended up on a grass verge in Guernsey.

Arctic walrus Thor was washed up in Scarborough, Yorkshire

Seal pup Hector (pictured) was ‘bounced’ ashore in Guernsey by stormy seas

He and other pup Echo (pictured) are thought to be siblings and have been rescued

Strong winds have whipped up the waves in recent days| Teignmouth, Devon

Walruses are extremely rare in the UK but one has now turned up as torrential rain and strong winds whipped up the waves and carried him ashore.

Thor, who may have come from as far afield as Canada, was snapped in Scarborough Harbour on December 30 and has previously been seen in Hampshire, Holland and France.

He is believed to be taking a rest before continuing on his travels, and charities have warned the public to keep a safe distance from the whopping animal.

Two other walruses, Wally and Freya, have been recorded in British waters in the last couple of years.

Meanwhile, a pair of baby grey seals, which are native to Britain, were rescued after being ‘bounced’ out of the sea and onto Guernsey.

The duo, possibly brother and sister, have been named Hector and Echo by staff at the GSPCA (the island’s equivalent of the RSPCA).

Both were exhausted and dehydrated, while Echo was one of the lightest seal pups ever recorded at just 11kg.

They were taken in by the GSPCA for treatment and care.

It comes as 2023 kicked off with urgent weather warnings for snow and ice, as heavy rain meant a new year’s washout in some areas.

The Met Office issued a yellow warning for ice covering almost all of Scotland.

The warning covers most of the region from 6pm this evening until 11am tomorrow.

Forecasters warned people to expect “some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces”.

A second warning, this one for snow, covers the area between Perth, Stirling and Fort William in central Scotland with travel delays likely as spells of snow fall on higher ground.

There are also 14 flood warnings and 98 flood alerts in place across England, along with 14 flood alerts in Wales as wet weather batters Britain.

Scotland was all but shut down on New Year’s Eve as torrential rain ground the rail network to a halt, while roads were closed by flash floods.

However, rain and strong winds across the UK did not put revellers off seeing in 2023 by glamming up and hitting the town for a boozy night out.

Helen Caughey, deputy chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “It’ll be an unsettled New Year weekend for much of the UK. New Year’s Eve for most will be the wetter of the two days, with a number of fronts bringing rain and wind across much of the country. 

“The unsettled weather will stay with us into the evening. 

“This will be followed by a more mixed New Year’s Day, with Scotland seeing the bulk of the unsettled conditions, with spells of rain, turning to snow over higher ground, continuing to push north.”

Looking forward, the forecast for next week is for dry and sunny spells on Monday, followed by more showers over the next few days.

The Met Office has issued two yellow weather warnings, one for ice and one for snow

The warnings cover most of Scotland into tomorrow| Scottish Highlands

There are also a number of flood warnings in place across England and Wales| Muchelney, Somerset