The Met Office has now named a weather system forecast to bring severe winds and heavy rain to the UK as Storm Ciara. A yellow weather warning is in force across the entirety of the UK for Saturday night into Sunday, when Storm Ciara is forecast to hit.
The Met Office warns there will be widespread gales and stormy conditions in places, and gusts could reach up to 80mph.
There will also be heavy rain, large waves and the possibility of coastal flooding.
The yellow weather warning for the whole of the UK is in place from 6pm on Saturday and lasts until 11.59pm on Sunday.
Storm Ciara has been named earlier than most systems, as Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “It was named as Storm Ciara this morning, and that’s quite early in storm naming, to be able to name a system on Wednesday that is going to largely affect the UK on Sunday and Saturday evening.”
Storm Ciara tracker LIVE: Storm Ciara has been named by the Met Office and will hit UK on Saturday
Storm Ciara tracker LIVE: Storm Ciara is being pushed towards the UK by the jet stream
Of how the Met Office was able to name the storm so early Mr Madge said: “We had advanced notice because of the weather patterns that’s enabled us to have a longer, earlier warning.
“So what’s leading to this is a change in weather patterns in the eastern parts of North America.
“What happens there drives the jet stream, which is this river of air which runs across the Atlantic.
“The weather patterns have invigorated the jet stream and strengthened it and that is going to be bringing low-pressure systems such as Ciara towards our shores.
Storm Ciara tracker LIVE: Weather warnings are in place across the country
“Having that advanced insight sooner than we normally would be able to with other types of weather patterns obviously we’ve been able to have the confidence to issue the warning.”
The warning states very strong winds are likely across much of the UK later Saturday and through Sunday.
Gusts of 50 to 60 mph are likely across many inland areas, with gusts of 70, possibly 80 mph around some exposed coasts and hills, especially in the north and west.
These winds will be accompanied by heavy rain in particular over western hills.
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Winds of this strength across a wide area have the potential to produce disruption to transport, along with some coastal impacts, especially in the west.
Weather maps show Storm Ciara approaching the UK from the west, pushed onward by the powerful jet stream.
Of whether there will be any areas in particular which could be hit by Ciara the hardest Mr Madge said: “We have taken the decision to keep it at the moment at UK level.
“One of the things that will happen over the next few hours to 24, 36 hours is that we will get more confidence about exact track of Ciara, however, this far out, at this moment in time, we are confident there will be impact across the entire UK.
Storm Ciara tracker LIVE: The storm will cause strong winds and heavy rain across much of the UK
Storm Ciara: Powerful gusts will smash into the UK this weekend
“But where those impacts are going to be strongest is subtlety and detail we will get further model runs and further observations coming forward about the exact track of it.
“For the moment we are happy to have the entire UK sitting under a yellow warning because there will be impacts across the entire UK.
“But we will obviously advise and update our warnings once we get more detail coming in which will give us the certainty we need to be able to isolate certain areas of being at risk of greater impact.”
The current forecast for this week before Storm Ciara shows Wednesday and Thursday with high pressure dominating, bringing largely fine conditions to most of the UK with the potential for frost and fog in some locations.
Storm Ciara tracker LIVE: The jet stream has been invigorated by weather patterns from North America
Storm Ciara is heading towards the UK
The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said before the storm warnings were issued: “February is more famous for snow than storms – but computer models show an Atlantic barrage is on the way this month.
“Stormy conditions are possible at the start and end of the week, and again in the following week.”
Then from Friday conditions will become unsettled, with spells of rain and a developing breeze.
Saturday will be a relatively dry day for much of the UK before further strengthening winds and rain arrive from the west in the evening ahead of Storm Ciara.
In the wake of Storm Ciara, conditions will remain unsettled across the UK, it will turn colder with the chance of wintry showers and ice in some parts. It will also remain very windy.
This could mean snow is on the horizon for some areas of the UK.
Chief Meteorologist Neil Armstrong said: “The Met Office will continue to monitor the development of Storm Ciara and other potentially impactful low-pressure systems through next week.
“Warnings will be issued and amended as appropriate so members of the public should keep up to date with the Met Office forecast via our website, app or by following us on social media.”
Met Office storm names: Storm Ciara is the third storm of the season
How to prepare for the storm
- Secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them
- Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages
- Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences
- Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts, particularly if roof pitch is less than 30°
- If the house is fitted with storm shutters over the windows then ensure that these are closed and fastened
- If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them