Storm Caroline will smash into Britain from the Atlantic Ocean tonight, bringing eight inches of snow and 90mph winds that will batter the country for three days.
The Met Office has issued an amber ‘be prepared’ warning – which happens to look like an elf – and alerted people that flying debris could threaten lives and tiles could be blown off roofs in parts of Scotland.
The warning, which comes less than three weeks before Christmas, also advised the public that road, rail, air and ferry services could be affected by the weather – and that there is a ‘good chance’ of power cuts.
Forecasters expect gusts of 70mph to 80mph widely in Northern Scotland with 90mph possible in exposed areas, and expect large waves to cause disruption to coastal roads and properties on seafronts.
The country is bracing for an Arctic blast after the Met Office announced the third named storm of the season, which is expected to arrive overnight and bring snow to many parts of Britain by the weekend.
Efforts are now underway to get 69 of 159 North Sea oil rig workers to safety from the Ninian Southern platform, about 240 miles from Aberdeen, amid fears over the incoming storm set to sweep across Scottish waters.
CNR International made the decision to carry out a downmanning – where staff are taken off the asset – due to safety concerns, with waves expected to reach a height where they could cause injury to those on board.
Gales of up to 80mph and temperatures as low as -8C (17F) are expected – following a balmy weekend, with temperatures reaching 12.4C (54F) in South Wales, and mild weather on Monday and yesterday.
The cold snap will begin today with wet and windy conditions across Britain. More than 2in (5cm) of snow is expected in parts of the North and West – and it will also fall in coastal areas that don’t normally receive it.