Potentially life-threatening Storm Freya is set to hammer Britain with 80mph wind gusts and heavy rain, triggering a severe weather warning from the Met Office .
Forecasters have issued a yellow warning for wind for Wales, a large part of England and southwest Scotland before the dangerous storm hits on Sunday and lasts into Monday.
Flying debris poses a danger to life while property damage, travel disruption, power cuts and giant waves are among the likely impacts just days after a record February heatwave.
The Met Office warned: "Storm Freya is expected to push quickly north-east across parts of England, Wales and southern Scotland through Sunday afternoon and evening, before clearing into the North Sea through the early part of Monday.
"Gusts of 55-65mph are likely widely, with the potential for gusts of 70-80mph for coastal parts of Devon and Cornwall, as well as Irish Sea coasts of Wales and north-west England."
The Met Office gave the storm a name – Freya – on Friday morning to warn Britons that the storm sweeping in from the Atlantic poses a danger to life and property.
Forecasters said injuries and danger to life from flying debris are possible and there could be some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs, and fallen trees or branches.
Road, rail, air and ferry services could be disrupted, and travellers should expect longer journey times or cancellations.
Some roads and bridges could close.
Homes and businesses could lose power and other services, such as mobile phone coverage, could also experience sudden outages, the Met Office warned.
It said: "Injuries and danger to life could occur from large waves and beach material being thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties."
The worst of the storm is expected to strike the UK after 3pm on Sunday and last until about 6am on Monday.
Gales are the most common cause of damage and disruption in the UK, the Met Office said, as it urged Britons to take precautions before the storm hits.
People should secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown away.
Doors, windows and loft trapdoors should be closed and securely fastened, vehicles should be parked in a garage if possible or be kept clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences.
Storm shutters should be kept closed and fastened if installed.
Inside homes, beds should be moved away from areas directly below chimney stacks that are tall and in poor conditions.
For days, the Met Office has been telling Britons to expect a wet and windy start to March, with Friday marking the start of meteorological spring.
Heavy rain and strong winds are expected to batter parts of the country for days, and snow could fall over high ground next week.
Showers could be thundery at times, and there is a chance of hail.
It comes just days after Britain saw its warmest February and winter temperatures on record, hitting 21C at Kew Gardens in southwest London.
Met Office five-day weather forecast
It will be cloudy and dry for most, though patches of light rain and drizzle are possible, especially in the east.
Pleasant sunny spells will develop, mainly in Wales, southwest England and Northern Ireland, before rain reaches Northern Ireland later.
Rain in Northern Ireland will move eastwards into most parts of mainland Britain overnight, becoming heavy in western Scotland.
It will be mild and cloudy, with hill fog.
After early cloud and rain clears, there will be brighter spells before rain and strong winds in Northern Ireland move southeastwards, affecting Wales, Scotland, western and northern England by evening.
Sunday will be windy, with gales in Scotland, persistent rain in the south, and sunshine and showers between.
Monday and Tuesday
Subsequently, gales may develop in the south, and sunshine and showers elsewhere.
Snow set to return
The Met Office is predicting wet and windy weather in the first days of March, with a risk of hail, thunder and snow.
Here is the outlook for Tuesday 5 March to Thursday 14 March: "Sunny spells and blustery showers are likely on Tuesday.
"Showers could be locally heavy with hail and thunder, and snow over northern hills.
"The best of any drier weather will probably be in the east.
"Spells of wet and windy weather are likely to continue through the rest of the week, interspersed with some drier, brighter periods.
"Further strong winds and gales are likely in exposed areas, particularly in the northwest.
"Temperatures will be near or slightly below normal for the start of spring, perhaps temporarily milder as weather fronts move across.
"On high ground in the north, it may be cold enough for some snow to fall, and there is the continued threat of overnight frosts where skies clear."
Stormy weather through March
Unsettled weather is expected through March, with snow possibly at lower levels.
In its outlook for Friday 15 March to Friday 29 March, the Met Office says: "Unsettled weather is likely to continue for the middle part of March.
"Spells of rain and strong winds are likely with brighter showery periods in between.
"The heaviest rainfall will probably be in the west, and snow is likely over high ground in the north, possibly to lower levels here at times.
"There will be periods of mild and cold weather, with overnight frosts still possible.
"By late March confidence is very low, but there are signs that the weather could become more settled with prolonged drier spells."
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