THE Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for this weekend with winds reaching speeds of up to 80mph bringing potential for widespread disruption to services and transport links.
Forecasters say the jet stream, triggered by plunging temperatures in the US, will be felt worst in parts of northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
It is expected to arrive on Friday, with yellow wind warnings in place across much of the UK – including the North East – by Saturday evening.
Forecasters say the jet stream will bring with it wind speeds of up to 250mph at flying level– and that conditions could rival the storm-like weather which battered parts of southern England at the end of 2013.
Mark Wilson, of the Met Office, said: “We have got a very strong jet stream caused by the very cold conditions in northern America. The speed by the end of the week will be 200 - 250mph.
“It will be similar to the weather we had (at the end of 2013) - potentially as strong but in a very different location.
“Winds will be 80mph or more across northern Scotland, although it will be windy everywhere.”
Tens of thousands of homes were left without power, trees were uprooted, trains and flights cancelled and floods crippled huge swathes of the UK when storms arrived on the south coast in October 2013.
Bethany Freeman, 17, died when the tree came down on a caravan as she slept in Kent, while 14-year-old Dylan Atkins was swept out to sea when he played near waves in Newhaven, East Sussex.
Meteorologist Mr Wilson said northern Scotland had a climate which was better suited to harsh winds, compared with the south of England.
He said: “Our best advice is to be aware of the strong winds and to check our weather warnings.
“It could have an impact on transport and services, and cause structural damage.”
Wind speeds of almost 100mph were recorded on the south coast of England two months ago, prompting further weather warnings.
Meteorologists say conditions north of Scotland are expected to bring very strong westerly winds to many northern and central parts of the UK on Saturday.
The weather centre said gusts of 60-70 mph are likely quite widely, but the winds should gradually ease from the west later in the day.
•The Met Office said the public should monitor its website for updates in the coming days.