It says there will be a danger to life as the UK is lashed by gales, 48ft waves, two inches of rain and floods.

The Irish weather service Met Éireann has named the storm Gareth as a terrifying satellite shows a swirl of dark cloud shrouding mainland Britain.

It's the third storm to hit the UK since the start of the year, bringing with it a 'danger to life' warnings and heavy bouts of snow.

From 3pm on Tuesday, Northern Ireland is set to be subject to the first warning for wind, lasting through to midday on Wednesday.

The rest of England and Wales will feel Gareth's fury from 9pm on Tuesday through to 3pm on Wednesday with strong northwesterly winds.

The Met Office has warned that injuries and danger to live could occur from large waves, debris being thrown and damage to buildings such as roof tiles being blown off.

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Travel is also set to be in tatters this week, with delays and cancellations expected on trains, roads and at airports.

In London scaffolding has been pictured falling down and smashing cars below. In Holland Road, Fulham, a tower of scaffolding came crashing down this morning.

Flood alerts have been issued across the country including Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Somerset.

Powerful winds battered Blighty and snow blanketed parts of the North this weekend.

It is believed the Queen's Sandringham estate was plunged into darkness yesterday, as tremendous winds bought trees crashing down – taking power lines down with them.

Firefighters were called after an entire shed was blown up a tree in Dorchester.

A multi-vehicle smash caused chaos on the M5 this morning as a fresh bout of bad weather blacked out hundreds of homes.

Hale the "size of mint imperials" has already forced roads to close across the Peak District and the Pennines today, creating difficulties for rescue teams.

And more disruption is on the way as conditions are set to get worse this week.

Heavy rain is expected, the Met Office has extended it's 'severe' yellow weather warnings for wind and rain into Thursday and Friday.

Blackouts, mobile phone signal outages, roof damage, toppled trees and travel chaos are due.

7,000 breakdowns were projected tomorrow by the RAC as the storm hits.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Don't be caught out by one of the fiercest storms of winter.

"More accidents are expected due to debris on roads and vehicles being blown off course.”

BBC meterologist Matt Taylor has warned that the strongest winds will be tomorrow night.

He said: "Gales just about anywhere. But closest to the area of low pressure is Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England where we suspect the worst of the winds will be.

“Severe gales with winds maybe touching 70mph and maybe even a little bit more.

“So that could lead to some travel disruption as we go through Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.”

Snow is expected because of a powerful jet of low pressure. Parts of the country have already seen the white stuff with the Peak District and parts of Wales left blanketed in snow.

Met Office meteorologist Dan Suri said: "Wintry showers will also continue for many tonight and the hills and mountains of Scotland and Northern Ireland could see a few cms of lying snow above 200 to 300 metres.

“Batten down the hatches,” said ex-BBC and Met Office forecaster John Hammond of weathertrending.

Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond said: “'Explosive cyclogensis' is seeing the Atlantic storm deepen rapidly.

“We expect structural damage to buildings, trees blown down, large waves on coasts and possible power cuts. People should be aware of warnings.

“Gusts of 70-80mph and possibly 90mph over higher ground are forecast, highest in western Scotland.

“But very windy conditions will also affect the rest of the country – with 55-60mph gusts inland in the North and 35-50 mph in the South, peaking on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.”

The Met Office has said: “A 'weather bomb' is not a perfect meteorological term but is defined as an intense low pressure system with a central pressure that falls 24 millibars in a 24-hour period.”

Met Office forecaster John West said: “This week will probably be the longest unsettled spell since last winter.

“Much of the UK will be affected by much bigger low-pressure areas than Storm Freya. People should take extra care.”

The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “It's a mad March after flaming February's record heat, with winter switching to spring this year.”

The Environment Agency said: “Localised flooding impacts are possible from heavy rain and wave overtopping coastal defences. Land, roads and properties may flood.”

"Widespread icy patches will develop on untreated surfaces first thing Monday morning and could cause a few travel problems.

"Whilst the blustery, cold conditions are a contrast to the type of weather we saw at the end of February this is fairly typical for early March in the UK.”


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