© PA People struggle in the cold conditions in Wallsend near Newcastle
Britain is bracing itself for a double battering as gale-force winds stirred up by a 250mph jet stream strike - followed by snow.
The very stormy weather has sparked fears that trees could be uprooted and travel and power lines damaged as forecasters warned of winds as strong as those which caused widespread damage in 2013.
The ferocious gales have been stirred up by an extra-powerful jet stream triggered by plunging temperatures in the US hitting warmer air in the south.
Forecasters said the 250mph jet stream will bring two "vigorous depressions" to the UK over the coming days.
It will hit Britain on Thursday night, lashing the north of Scotland with 100mph winds - strong enough to damage buildings. The Met Office has issued an amber warning, telling people to "be prepared".
The rest of Scotland has been issued with a yellow Met Office warning as gusts of up to 70mph are forecast.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland are also set to be hit with strong winds of up 60mph.
Met Office forecaster Calum MacColl said: "It is going to bring some very windy conditions indeed pushing in. There will be some damaging winds - very severe.
"In that amber area we could see gusts of up to 100mph. That could cause a bit of damage. It is a vigorous depression.
"In the south the winds will be picking up too. It is a windy night for all. We could see some strong waves across the coastal areas. Obviously people need to take care and be vigilant."
Lashing rain will hit the west coast and quickly sweep across Britain on Thursday night into the early hours of Friday morning.
And hot on its heels Britain will be hit by another storm with more weather warnings issued for Saturday amid predictions of further gale-force winds.
But MacColl said despite the storms temperatures will be "exceptionally mild for that time of year" - widely hovering at 14C to 15C.
The AA advised warmed drivers faced "potentially hazardous" conditions.
John Seymour, national manager of the AA's severe weather team, said: "Scotland, particularly, is going to take something of a battering and drivers need to be prepared for possible widespread travel disruption and challenging driving conditions across the affected areas.
"We would encourage people to check the weather and traffic updates before departing and to heed any police warnings about whether it is safe to travel.
"If you have no choice but to drive, keep your speed down as sudden gusts can catch you out and there is a risk of debris on the roads."
The fierce winds will pass over Britain, but forecasters are warning that snow could strike next week.
MacColl said a wave of far cooler temperatures will hit which look set to bring snow flurries to parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, especially on the higher ground.
And north-west England and Wales could also be hit by snowstorms over hilly areas.
Tens of thousands of homes were left without power, trees were uprooted, trains and flights cancelled and floods crippled huge swaths of the UK when storms arrived on the south coast in October 2013.
Bethany Freeman, 17, died when the tree came down on a caravan as she slept in Kent, while 14-year-old Dylan Atkins was swept out to sea when he played near waves in Newhaven, East Sussex.