The most powerful storm in years could batter Britain next week, with gales of more than 80mph lashing parts of England.
The storm will develop over the Atlantic tomorrow before potentially hitting the south coast on Sunday night and into Monday, bringing exceptionally strong winds, forecasters predict.
Gales of more than 80mph could bring down trees or cause damage to roads and buildings, potentially causing major transport disruption and power cuts.
Eddy Carroll, chief forecaster at the Met Office, said: “This storm doesn’t exist at the moment, but our forecasts models predict it is likely to develop in the west Atlantic on Saturday.
“Then it’s likely to rapidly intensify just west of the UK late on Sunday before tracking across England and Wales early on Monday.
“There is still a chance this storm may take a more southerly track and miss the UK, bringing impacts elsewhere in northern Europe, but people should be aware there is a risk of severe weather and significant disruption.
“With that in mind, people should keep up to date with and act on the advice in our forecasts and warnings as the situation develops.”
There is no guarantee that the storm will hit – some forecasts predict that it could pass through the English Channel rather than hitting land.
But if it does it is likely to be worst storm of the year so far.
Sally Webb, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the storm was being created by a very deep low pressure, which could cause wind speeds to pick up “enormously”.
“There is a lot of rainfall that could be associated with it as well, which could lead to flooding and trees coming down.”
Atlantic storms of this type usually develop further west across the ocean, losing strength by the time they reach the UK and Ireland.
But this storm is expected to appear much closer to land, potentially moving across the country while it is in its most powerful phase.
A strong jet stream and warm air close to the UK are contributing to the development and strength of the storm.
The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for wind and rain for all of England and Wales for Monday, warning people to be prepared.
Before then, Saturday will start off dry, but scattered light showers will develop, merging into longer spells of rain later in the day.
Sunday will remain very windy with further outbreaks of rain.