Leeds and Yorkshire will be battered by Storm Barbara just as the Christmas weekend begins, forecasters said today.
Weather warnings are in force for Yorkshire as gusts of up to 70mph will batter the county from noon on Friday and continue through the holiday weekend, the Met Office said.
A spell of very strong south to southwesterly winds is expected to develop on Friday. Gusts of 60 to 70 mph are likely quite widely, before moderating on Saturday morning but then freshening up again later.
Forecasters warned of possible structural damage, as well as disruption to power supplies and travel.
A further spell of very strong southwesterly winds is expected on Christmas Day.
Scotland is predicted to be the worst hit by the weather, but weather warnings are in force for West Yorkshire
Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “We are expecting gusts of around 80mph widespread within the amber warning area, up to 90mph in places.
“We have had the good fortune to be able to issue the weather warnings ahead of Storm Barbara coming, with plenty of time hopefully for people to change their plans if they need to.
“But the nature of the storm means it still has the potential to have an impact on power supplies, structures, and disrupt bridge and ferry crossings.”
The UK Coastguard issued its own safety warnings ahead of the weekend.
Coastal operations area commander Ross Greenhill said: “We always advise people to check the weather and tidal conditions before they set out so that they can either prepare accordingly or consider whether they should even be going out at all.
“At sea, changes in tidal streams can make conditions worse, particularly if the wind and tide are against each other and tidal heights may hide underwater hazards.”
Storm Barbara has been named in line with the Met Office’s alphabetical policy for the strongest weather systems and is only the second name designated this season, which began on October 1, after Storm Angus.