The north-west of England and western parts of Wales have been handed red warnings by the Met Office, ahead of forecasted gales of 80-100mph on Wednesday afternoon.
The organisation said people in affected areas should prepare for “widespread structural damage”, including falling trees and power losses.
Coastal areas are said to be at particular risk, with the gales expected to lead to large waves.
Other regions of the UK – including the north-east, Yorkshire, the Midlands, the south-west, the south-east and London – have been told to expect wind speeds of around 60-70mph.
Assessing the extreme conditions, a chief forecaster at the Met Office said, “A vigorous area of low pressure is expected to move north-eastwards across Ireland and southern Scotland this afternoon and evening. Damaging winds are likely to develop along the southern flank of this area of low pressure, especially in coastal locations.
“Coastal areas of west Wales and north-west England are likely to bear the brunt as south-westerly (later westerly) winds widely gust to 80mph and possibly 100mph in the most exposed locations. The core of strongest winds will then affect parts of the coast of north Wales and north-west England early evening with peak gusts of 85mph.”
Current forecasts suggest winds will be at their strongest and most damaging on Wednesday. The red warning – meaning ‘take action’ – is currently valid until 9pm, after which, it turns into an amber warning for ‘be prepared’.
As it stands, England, Wales and parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland have yellow warnings for Thursday – meaning individuals should ‘be aware’.
Wednesday’s forecasts predict the latest in a series of extreme weather events to hit UK shores. With parts of the south-west still flooded, the prime minister David Cameron said on Tuesday that money was “no object” in the government’s commitment to dealing with the situation.
In a statement on Sunday, the Met Office attributed the recent “exceptional” weather to climate change.
Chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo said, “There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly rain events. We have records going back to 1766 and we have nothing like this. We have seen some exceptional weather. We can’t say it is unprecedented but it is exceptional.”
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