The entire country is warned to batten down the hatches for torrential downpours
The entire country is warned to batten down the hatches for torrential downpours and 50 to 80mph gales through tomorrow.
Heavy rain threatens widespread flooding sparking warnings to expect travel mayhem through the start of 2018.
It is likely forecasters will name the fifth storm of the season today (Tuesday) – Eleanor – following Dylan on New Year’s Eve.
Government forecasters warn it will be the first in series of assaults before Britain is plunged back into the freezer this weekend.
There will be some very strong winds and heavy rain with the chance of snow
Bitter Arctic winds will sweep in on Saturday pushing temperatures widely below freezing and bringing harsh frosts.
A savage freeze gripping the United States has strengthened the jet steam over the UK driving the frenzied weather this week.
The rapidly-flowing channel of air high in the atmosphere will act like a conveyor belt steering storm systems in from the Atlantic, experts say.
After a rainy but calm start today (Tuesday) all hell will break loose this evening when the first storm arrives.
Met Office forecaster Helen Roberts said: “Winds will strengthen on Tuesday evening and into Wednesday, there will be some very strong winds and heavy rain with the chance of snow over the northern hills.
“We are keeping an eye things for Wednesday, unstable air will bring gusts of widely 50 to 60 mph with coastal regions likely to see 70mph and we can’t rule out winds of up to 80mph in parts.
“It is not out of the question that this storm will warrant issuing a name, although this has not happened yet.”
Another low pressure system will hit on Thursday bringing further unsettled weather through Friday, she added.
The dire weather will be driven by extreme cold in the US where temperatures have plummeted to -37C this week, she added.
“The massive cold plunge across North America is strengthening the jet stream over Britain and this will pull low-pressure systems into the country,” she said.
“The stronger the jet the more likely it is to straighten and remain in the same position which is what is happening.
“Much of the country will see wet weather on Thursday as another system comes in from the west.
“Strong winds will set in in Thursday night and into Friday which will be another wet and blustery day.
“By the weekend we expect high pressure to take charge but this will bring an airflow from the Arctic region and we will be back into a cold spell.”
The Environment Agency (EA) has issued 56 flood alerts across the entire country
Heavy rain falling on saturated ground while strong winds clash with high tides have sparked fears of flooding.
The Environment Agency (EA) has issued 56 flood alerts across the entire country with a more serious flood warning in central England.
A spokesman said: “The ground is saturated and responsive to further rainfall.
“Any flooding is expected to coincide with periods of high tide.
“Properties may flood and there may be travel disruption.
“Local coastal flooding is also possible for parts of the north-east and north-west coast during Wednesday and Thursday.
“Land, roads and some properties could flood and there could be travel disruption.”
Dave Reynolds, forecaster for The Weather Channel UK, agreed Britain is in for a very unsettled spell of weather.
He said: “We are going to remain in a very Atlantic regime and this will mean further unsettled conditions through this week.
‘Local coastal flooding is also possible for parts of the north-east’
“There will be a flood risk because as there is a lot of rain around and the ground is already saturated it will be able to absorb any more.
“We are expecting some flooding as we have the right conditions for it.”
Temperatures will dip to freezing or just below overnight in the north this week with the south dipping to around 2C (35.6F).
The mercury is likely to touch -7C (19.4F) in the north by the weekend while the south shivers in lows of close to freezing.