STORM Ellen has strengthened to a 900-mile wide “weather bomb” that will pummel the UK with 75mph winds.
A wind and rain warning has been issued for western parts of the UK from tonight until Thursday night.
Ellen, Britain's worst storm for six months since Storm Dennis on February 15, will arrive on British shores tonight, travelling east across Ireland.
Western parts of the UK will see the strongest winds, but with gale-force 40mph gusts expected in parts of the east.
26ft waves are due off South-West coasts, with waves up to 15ft on beaches in the South-West, magicseaweed.com data showed.
A Met Office forecaster said: “Summer will be long forgotten as rain and wind sets in. It will feel much more like autumn.”
The Met Office has said: “A 'weather bomb' is not a perfect meteorological term but is defined as an intense low pressure system with a central pressure that falls 24 millibars in a 24-hour period.”
The Environment Agency warned of floods from big waves and downpours.
“Local flooding is possible from surface water and rivers on Thursday evening in the South-West, and from large waves and high tides on Thursday and Friday in the South-West, Wales and North-East," The Environment Agency said.
“Land, roads and some properties may flood and there may be travel disruption.”
A four-day buffeting of strong winds is ahead until Sunday, with rain easing on Friday.
Ellen is known as a "weather bomb" by forecasters due to "explosive cyclogenesis" which happens when air pressure plunges more than 24millibars in 24 hours.
The storm's air pressure is forecast to fall by 34mb to 965mb in the 24 hours, Met Office forecasts showed.
The storm, which includes the remnants of Tropical Storm Kyle and has been named by Ireland's Met Éireann, will bring severe gales as it hits the west coast of Ireland later today, and then sweeps across to the UK.
This morning a dramatic rescue operation was launched after a yacht was "snapped" from its anchor and driven on to a West Country beach by the fury of Storm Ellen's howling 70mph-plus winds.
UK Coastguard said the yacht was blown ashore from its anchorage out in the sea at Wherrytown, near Penzance, Cornweall.
One person was aboard and he was safely rescued following a joint operation involving an RNLI lifeboat crew from Penlee Station and the coastguard.
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