Britain has sounded the alarm bells to warn its residents to prepare for its worst storm in a decade, dubbed St Jude, a Stormageddon of its kind as described on social networks.
The strong Atlantic storm had dumped heavy rains on late Sunday amid strong winds. Weather forecasters expect torrential conditions to worsen through the night.
"This weather system is typical of what we expect to see in winter but as it's coming in during autumn - when trees are in leaf - and while the ground is fairly saturated, it does pose some risks. We could see some uprooted trees or other damage from the winds, and there's a chance of some surface water flooding from the rainfall - all of which could lead to some disruption," Martin Young, chief forecaster at the Met Office, UK's national weather service, said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has directed all involved government agencies to prepare and ensure that contingency plans for transportation, schools and power supplies would work regardless of the storm's strength and duration. Storm St Jude has been predicted to carry wind gusts stronger than 130km/h.
Storm clouds gather as diners set up their tables during the Diner en Blanc (Dinner in White) at the Marina Barrage in Singapore October 18, 2013. Diners dressed head to toe in white and bringing with them white tablecloths, glassware and other finery, gathered on Friday night for an impromptu open-air dinner, organisers said. Participants were told of the venue via social media sites and the Internet, then rushed to assemble at the venue. REUTERS/Edgar Su (SINGAPORE - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT)
London's main Heathrow Airport had issued advisories on flight delays and cancellations. Britain's rail network operator had issued a revised timetable on some routes. The Highways Agency, meantime, had recommended the closure of some road bridges.
"The thing that's unusual about this one is that most of our storms develop out over the Atlantic so that they've done all their strengthening and deepening by the time they reach us," Helen Chivers, Met Office spokeswoman, said.
"This one is developing as it crosses the UK, which is why it brings the potential for significant disruption ... and that doesn't happen very often."
Storm St Jude is forecast to beat across England and Wales throughout the night, onwards early morning.
Sky News, quoting MeteoGroup, reported the Needles on the Isle of Wight has so far been beaten with wind gusts of gusts of 93.15mph.
Storm St Jude has been compared to the Great Storm of 1987 which hit England and France, leaving 22 people dead. It toppled 15 million trees and left a damage bill of more than $1.6 billion. Its winds blew up to 115 miles an hour.
The Met Office national weather center warned residents to take necessary precautions and remain alert as Storm St Jude can topple trees and damage buildings. It also advised of potential disruption to power supplies and transport once it hits overnight to Monday.
Residents were advised to expect flooding as Storm St Jude is expected to dump between 20 and 40 millimetres (0.8 and 1.6 inches) of rain within six to nine hours, starting on Sunday evening.
Named after the patron saint of lost causes, whose feast day is on Monday, Storm St Jude is forecast to hit northern France before heading off towards Denmark, according to forecasters.
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