Winds of up to 100mph are forecast to hit some exposed areas of the coast today as the stormy weather reaches a ferocious new high.A further month’s worth of rain is also forecast for some areas by Friday night, heaping misery on communities already struggling with flooding.
Northwest Wales and northern England are expected to see the strongest winds on Wednesday, with speeds picking up through the afternoon and early evening.
Gusts of 80mph are also predicted for the South West around midday. The storm is also set to sweep over southern Ireland, with Status Red warnings for Cork and County Kerry.
The Met Office has warned that the high winds could fell trees, causing further transport delays and possible power cuts.
David Cameron is leading another meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency this morning as flood-hit regions in Somerset and the Thames Valley brace for more wild weather.
The Met Office has also issued yellow warnings for snow, rain and wind across other parts of Britain.
Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said: “Winds will pick up dramatically this afternoon around the Irish Sea, west Wales and northwest England.
“Disruption across the Pennines later is more likely to be from the tricky mix of strong winds and heavy snowfall.”
Fourteen severe flood warnings are still in place for the South East, close to the River Thames, with two further severe alerts for Somerset.
A further 353 flood warnings and alerts are in place for the rest of England.
Forecasters say 70mm of rain could fall by Friday night in the West Country, south Wales, western Scotland and Northern Ireland. Southern and western areas are expected to get 20-40mm.
Around 1,000 homes have been reported as flooded over the past week, including 800 along the Thames.
A total of 5,800 properties have been affected since December.
Six hundred troops have now been deployed to help protect properties against the floods. Another 1,000 remain on stand-by.
The Prime Minister has said “thousands more” are available for tasks like filling and moving sandbags, getting medical assistance to the sick and helping vulnerable people.
Meanwhile, the public is being warned over the potential dangers of using private pumps to clear water.
Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said some people are not ventilating their homes properly and are in danger of inhaling dangerous fumes like carbon monoxide. Other residents are also allowing cables to sit in flood waters.
The under-fire Environment Agency says 1.3 million homes have been protected from damage by flood defences.
Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street on Tuesday, Mr Cameron said: “Nothing is more important than dealing with these floods. Money is no object in this relief effort.
“Whatever money is needed for it, it will be spent. We will take whatever steps are necessary.
“There is absolutely no sign of this threat abating, and with further rain and strong winds forecast throughout the week, things may get worse before they get better.”
Mr Cameron was due to travel to Israel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but has cancelled the trip.
He also announced a new Cabinet committee will be set up to oversee the flooding recovery and a tax deferral scheme would help businesses hit by flooding.
Up to £10m in new funding will be found to support farmers and grants for homeowners and businesses will be made available to improve flood defences.