Storm Dudley is forecast to bring winds of up to 90mph to the UK on Wednesday, posing a possible “danger to life”.
The weather service said: “Road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected, and some roads and bridges are likely to close, leading to longer journey times and cancellations.
“There is a good chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage.
“Injuries and danger to life is likely from large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.”
Where have weather warnings been issued?
The amber alert is in place from 4pm until midnight and covers a large belt across the middle of the UK, including regions north of Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire and south of Perthshire in Scotland.
Forecasters have said residents in this region can also expect heavy showers throughout the afternoon and possible snow on high ground.
A yellow warning is also in place for wind from 3pm on Thursday to 9pm on Friday, covering all of northern and central England, Northern Ireland, most of Wales and southern and central Scotland.
The Met Office said the tumultuous conditions are caused by Storm Dudley which will sweep across the northern half of the country from Wednesday night into Thursday morning, and Storm Eunice which will follow.
Meteorologist Alex Deakin has warned people in the affected areas to brace for “heavy rain and ever-strengthening winds”.
He said: “It’s going to be a windy day throughout with those winds continuing to pick up through the afternoon and the evening.
“There will be some snow on the hills across Scotland, but it’s the rain and more particularly the wind we’re concerned about in this storm system on Wednesday.
“It’s likely to cause transport disruption and dangerous conditions by the sea.”
Storm Dudley is expected to bring gusts of up to 90mph on exposed coasts and hills of Scotland, with winds of around 70mph further inland.
When will Storm Eunice arrive?
Storm Eunice will arrive in central parts of the UK on Friday and is forecast to bring gale force winds between 60 and 70mph inland.
The weather system is also predicted to bring heavy rain and possible snowfall on high ground from the Midlands and further north.
Where snow does fall, the high winds are likely to create blizzard conditions, the Met Office has said.
Motorists have been urged to drive carefully, while electricity supply firms have issued warnings following the widespread outages in northern England and Scotland which followed storms earlier this year.
National Highways Head of Road Safety Jeremy Phillips said: “We’re encouraging drivers to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys and consider if their journey is necessary and can be delayed until conditions improve.
“If you do intend to travel, then plan your journey and take extra care, allowing more time for your journey.
“In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down. Drivers of other vehicles should be aware of sudden gusts of wind which can affect handling and braking, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, and motorbikes plenty of space.
“In the event of persistent high winds we may need to close bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow signed diversion routes.”
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