A dramatic 'sting-jet' weather formation coming in from the Atlantic will unleash gale-force winds not seen in 35 years today (18 February), according to forecasters.
The arrival of Storm Eunice overnight has led to alarmed meteorologists from the Met Office issuing a rare red warning of "extremely strong winds" for south Wales and the southeast of England from 7am.
It means rush hour in the affected areas could potentially be turned deadly as roofs are blown off, power lines brought down and trees uprooted.
Even mobile phone signals could go down in the worst-hit areas as signal towers struggle under the winds, which are expected to possibly reach 100mph in some places.
It means the storm could be the worst to reach our shores since the infamous Great Storm of 1987, which killed 18 people.
The 'sting-jet' expected today is an area of extreme wind that forms within storms over a narrow area, lasting a few hours and generating potentially deadly gusts.
Other levels of weather advisory are also in place for most of the UK, with an amber warning for wind covering much of the southern half of England and Wales, and a yellow warning applying to northern England and Wales.
Scotland, Lancashire and Cumbria will also see some heavy snow across both higher and lower ground.
Met Office Chief Meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “After the impacts from Storm Dudley for many on Wednesday, Storm Eunice will bring damaging gusts in what could be one of the most impactful storms to affect southern and central parts of the UK for a few years.
“The red warning area indicates a significant danger to life as extremely strong winds provide the potential for damage to structures and flying debris.
"Although the most exposed coastal areas in the south and west could see gusts in excess of 90mph, winds will remain notably strong further inland, with gusts of between 70-80mph for most within the amber warning area.”
Schools across the UK have closed as a precaution, while hundreds of train services have already been cancelled with many more expected as the day goes on.
The Environment Agency has also issued a flood warning for the west, southwest and south coast of England, as well as the tidal River Severn.
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