'Danger to life' weather warning as 80mph Storm Freya winds to batter UK
Gusts of 70-80mph are likely around coastal areas as well as Wales and northwest England
Storm Freya is forecast to bring very strong and disruptive winds to large parts of the UK, with the strongest winds expected over parts of England.
The storm will land on Sunday afternoon and could cause injuries and danger to life.
There is a risk of flying debris from damaged trees and buildings as well as large waves. A severe Met Office weather warning covers most of England and Wales from 3pm Sunday to 6am Monday.
South-westerly winds will strengthen through Sunday afternoon, with gusts of 55-65 mph expected widely across England, Wales and southern Scotland. Gusts of 70-80mph are likely around coastal areas, especially in Devon and Cornwall, as well as Wales and northwest England.
Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Jason Kelly, said: "Storm Freya undergoes rapid cyclogenesis late Saturday and early Sunday as it moves across the eastern Atlantic Ocean towards the British Isles, this means the area of low pressure will deepen quickly as it moves towards us.
"This is a developing situation and the track of Freya’s strongest winds could change over the next few days, so we are advising people to keep an eye on the latest forecast and warnings from the Met Office.
"Where winds are strongest we can expect significant disruption to travel, with damage to buildings and trees likely. It’ll be especially dangerous near coastal areas due to the wind whipping up large waves."
Highways England’s Head of Road Safety, Richard Leonard, 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."
Looking ahead to next week, Deputy Chief Meteorologist Jason Kelly, said: "As Storm Freya moves into the North Sea on Monday so too will the strongest winds. The rest of the week will be largely unsettled with further spells of wet and windy weather, but some fair weather and sunshine in places too."