Weather experts fear Storm Eunice could unleash a rare and powerful phenomenon called a sting jet, believed to be responsible for some of the worst damage in storms of this kind.
The cyclone storm system has triggered a Red Warning from the Met Office for high wind – only the 11th warning at the highest level issued by the forecaster.
Schools, business, roads and transport systems across the country have been shut down for safety, with red, amber and yellow warnings in place from Friday and through the weekend.
The worst of the weather is forecast for South Wales and the South West of England.
Now there are fears the system could spark a highly-damaging sting jet.
A sting jet is a rare system that sees an incredibly powerful, highly concentrated area of wind within a high-speed storm.
The worst of the damage caused in the Great Storm of October 1987 has been attributed to a sting jet – so named because it resembles a scorpion’s tail when pictured by satellite.
Sting jets are just 30 miles across and last around three or four hours in storms that pass across Europe, reports Sky News.
The 100mph sting jets form when a stream of cold air is pulled down into a warmer system at the head of a storm, creating evaporation and accelerating air speeds.
Dr Ambrogio Volonté, of the University of Reading, described Eunice as a “bomb” cyclone, similar in structure to the 1987 storm.
According to TheTelegraphEunice is a type of cyclone where the cold front does not catch up with the warm front, creating a gap which can pull strong winds towards the ground – creating the sting jet.
Dr Volonte. said: “It was the sting jet that caused the catastrophic damage associated with the ’87 storm.”
Met Watch UK says Storm Eunice is “currently undergoing explosive cyclogenesis in the Atlantic and will likely have a Shapiro-Keyser cyclone structure as it arrives”, which means it has a greater chance of a sting jet, reports The Express.
Storm Eunice is forecast to last from 3am on Friday through the morning, with strong winds then lasting through the weekend,
Major incidents have been declared across come cities and counties, with people advised not to travel unless essential.
Eunice comes on the back of Storm Dudley, which claimed one life and left thousands of people without power.
As well as warnings of high winds there are also warnings of snow for parts of the country.