Britain was braced for a bout of unusually harsh weather on Sunday with storm force winds and heavy rains expected to whip across the country throughout Monday, causing disruption to shipping and other transport.
Britain's Meteorological Office forecast winds of up to 80 mph (130 km/h) and high seas throughout Monday and into Tuesday, with a warning for storm force 10 winds in the Channel between the UK and continental Europe, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
"Disruption to transport and power supplies is possible and there may be damage to buildings and trees," the weather service said in an advance warning.
"In addition, high waves and flooding may affect coastal areas in the south."
The coastguard advised the public to take precautions in vulnerable coastal areas, where it warned of potentially violent storm force 11 winds with the possibility of flooding, and urged people not to go "wave watching" during the storms.
"The coastguard would advise all mariners and visitors to the coast to be very wary over the next few days," it said.
"There may be some extremely difficult weather conditions out at sea and on exposed coastlines."
The poor weather is being caused by a band of intense low pressure heading towards the British Isles from the northwest.
The forecast for bad weather stretches from Ireland in the west, down the west coast of France and northern Spain, and east along the English Channel to the Netherlands' coast. (Reuters)
Britain braces for storms, shipping warned