HURRICANE force winds of more than 120mph set to smash into Britain tonight in the form of Storm Frank are more powerful than those of the infamous storm of 1987 which claimed 22 lives.
Met Office figures say the catastrophic winds which ripped up 15 MILLION trees across the country and left a £5BILLION trail of destruction in their wake peaked at 115mph.
Tonight’s storms are set to top 120mph.
In 1987 weather forecaster Michael Fish famously laughed off predictions of a devastating storm leaving much of the country unprepared.
But even with today’s more sophisticated forecasting techniques there will be little protection against the 120mph winds of Storm Frank.
Waves reaching 30-40ft are expected to breach sea defences and head inland across huge swathes of Britain’s western coastline.
And communities in the north of England, already reeling from the severe floods of the Christmas period are to be hit again – and experts say the devastation is likely to be even WORSE.
NASA have released images of Storm Frank and the Met Office are predicting torrential rain, snow and floods.
More than month’s worth of rain is forecast to fall in Scotland and the north with flood-hit regions braced for more misery.
The storm will be followed by a bitter Arctic plunge unleashing freezing winds and dumping inches of snow in parts of Britain, experts warn.
The savage ‘weather bomb’, has in the past day intensified on its journey across the Atlantic threatening chaos into the New Year.
The Met Office has upgraded a severe weather warning in the northwest to amber while extending alerts across the country.
The Environment Agency (EA) has put out 27 ‘danger to life’ severe flood warnings across central and northern England and Wales.
Much of the north of the country has already faced a deluge following heavy rainfall from Storm Eva. York, Leeds and Manchester were all savagely hit by the floods as the River Ouse and River Foss burst their banks.
Hundreds of families had to be rescued in boats by the Army and emergency services in flood-ravaged York while others remain trapped in their homes.
More than 180 flood warnings and flood alerts are in place around the country with nowhere likely to escape the hammering.
Forecasters say a violent storm system hurtling towards British shores is “one of the worst we have seen”.
An eerie calm before the storm yesterday saw storm-battered Britons enjoy a bank holiday respite ahead of next onslaught.
Severe gales are forecast to pick up this afternoon bringing widespread 65mph winds and gusts of 80mph to 120mph.
Experts warn to prepare for severe disruption and travel chaos while flood-hit regions face the worst crisis for two years.
Swathes of the country face a nightmare similar to the 2013/14 floods which left Somerset and the southwest under water for more than a month.
The Met Office said the next bout of wet and windy weather is due to strike this evening with the north in for the worst of it.
It has not yet confirmed the name of the next storm although ‘Frank’ would follow Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond and Eva.
Met Office forecaster Emma Sillitoe said: “Tuesday will be a much drier and brighter day but the next batch of wind and rain comes through later in the day.
“It will be quite slow moving bringing widespread gale-force winds and severe gales in the northwest on New Year’s Eve.
“Heavy rain on saturated ground brings the risk of further flooding especially in Cumbria and the north and after a brief respite it turns wet and windy again on New Year’s Day.
“It is also about to turn colder with temperatures falling to freezing or below.”
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said despite the current mild conditions a bitter Arctic blast is about to compound the misery.
Thermometers are about to plunge with freezing winds and blizzards promising a wintry start to the new year.
Snow is expected across northern England and as far south as Wales on New Year’s Eve as the mercury plummets to -4C (25F).