Storm Imogen is threatening to fell trees, down power lines and wreak havoc during tomorrow’s morning commute, while high winds are expected to carry thundery downpours throughout the day that have the potential to cause problems into the evening rush hour.
The Met Office has issued amber warnings of wind for much of the south west and a yellow warning stretching from southern Wales to the Thames Estuary as the storm sweeps in from the English Channel.
Tracts of coastal Devon and Cornwall have been told to be prepared for large waves and localised flooding.
Exposed areas on the south coast are on alert for gusts of 80mph with the potential to whip up ‘very large waves’, particularly in Cornwall and north Devon.
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Parts of exposed coasts on Hayling Island and Southsea could see large waves and people are warned to keep a safe distance away from the sea.
The warnings will be in place from 3am until 6pm on Monday, with gusts of 60 to 70mph expected widely.
Forecasters said the morning rush hour will be ‘especially impacted’ as Imogen tracks eastwards across an area south of the M4.
Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: ‘We have issued a broad yellow warning of wind that encompasses Cardiff, Bristol and into the Thames Estuary.
‘There is an amber warning for wind mainly focussed on Devon and Cornwall but stretching into central England on Monday morning.
‘This means people should be prepared for disruption to travel on roads, rail, bridges and ferries and we could see possible damage to structures and downed trees risk affecting power.
‘The wind will be combined with some hefty showers with some thunder along the south coast.’
Drivers are being urged to check the weather and driving conditions before setting out and pay particular attention to exposed locations such as coastal and high-lying areas, and bridges which could be affected by the high winds.
Gary Webb, from Highways England, said: ‘We are working closely with the Met Office to monitor weather conditions and would encourage drivers, especially those driving high-sided vehicles, motorcycles or considering a trip with a caravan, to consider driving conditions before setting off as they could be difficult.
‘If you do have to make a journey by road be prepared, plan your journey in advance and check the latest weather conditions along your route.
‘Be aware of sudden gusts of wind, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, and motorbikes plenty of space. In the event of persistent high winds we may need to close bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow signed diversion routes.’