STORM CIARA is about to unleash the most ferocious weather on Britain since 2013 as an Atlantic jet stream will barrel towards the UK.
The Met Office has warned there will be disruption to flights, trains and ferries, damage to buildings and a “good chance” of power cuts over the weekend and into next week. The wether forecaster issued a series of severe weather alerts, including an amber warning for south-east England on Sunday. Yellow warnings have been issued for north-western parts of the UK on Saturday, followed by the whole of the UK on Sunday.
Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “Storm Ciara will bring damaging winds and heavy rain across the UK this weekend and we have issued a range of severe weather warnings giving people time to prepare for potential impacts of the storm.
“Winds will increase through Saturday across Northern Ireland, Scotland, northern England and Wales, before turning very windy across the rest of UK through the early hours of Sunday morning.
“Gusts of 50-60mph are expected quite widely across inland areas, with even stronger gusts of 80mph or higher along coastal areas, especially in south-east England and northern Scotland.”
Ciara will also be the worst storm since 2013, due to the amount of heavy rain.
Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: “It is going to be more significant than the other two storms we have seen this season.
“In terms of widespread effect, the last one it is on a par with was in 2013. Everybody will feel some effects from it.
“It is heavy rain as well as the winds, which will be quite widely 50 to 60mph.
“That’s the reason for naming it.”
Storm Ciara was named by the Met Office on Wednesday and is moving eastwards towards the UK and Ireland.
Ciara is the first of a series of low-pressure systems hearing towards the UK by an “extremely strong jet stream”, Mr Saunders added.
He said: “Our confidence in the forecast means we have been able to issue severe weather warnings well in advance, giving people time to prepare for potential impacts of the storm.”
Snow maps by Net Weather show wintry weather ahead over the next week.
Northern Scotland, including Inverness, will see up to 14 inches of snow on Friday, February 14.
North-western regions of the UK, such as Cumbria, will also see a sprinkle of four cm.
And south-eastern regions of England will see a could of cm by next weekend too.
This includes Southampton, London and Norwich.
Temperatures will be chilly for many regions too over the next week.
Scotland will be gripped by bitterly cold -1C on Monday.
The freezing temperatures of -1C will sweep down to Manchester on Wednesday.
This will linger in the north until Friday, as Newcastle will also be hit by subzero conditions as well.
RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous also urged motorists to take “extreme care” on the roads, particularly on coastal or exposed routes.
He said: “You have a recipe for some treacherous driving conditions.
“We strongly recommend drivers reduce their speed and leave plenty of space between their vehicle and those around them.
“Be particularly careful when passing high-sided vehicles when the potential for strong crosswinds could blow them off course.”
Network Rail warned that reduced train services and speed restrictions are likely to be in place across large parts of Britain on Sunday.
Disruption could continue into Monday morning as repair work may be hampered by the conditions.
Strong winds have the potential to damage overhead electric wires and tracks due to debris or trees falling onto the railway.
Network Rail urged people living near rail lines to tie down or clear away garden furniture and trampolines.
Passengers travelling on Sunday and Monday morning are urged to check for updates before they travel.