Cambridgeshire threatened with worst weather since the Great Storm of 1987

Dark Clouds

Dark Clouds - Credit: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

Cambridgeshire could be in the eye of a storm that threatens the worst weather since the Great Storm of 1987.

Stormy sky

Stormy sky - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

That was the clear warning from weather forecasters today as the county and the rest of East Anglia braced itself for a challenging weekend.

Along the costs of Suffolk and Norfolk winds of up to 70mph – or even stronger- are forecast.

Steve Western, lead forecaster for Weatherquest said the storm was brewing up today over the Azores before heading towards Britain.

“At the moment we’re still not 100% sure it will occur but it looks as if we are likely to have a deep depression tracking across the British Isles up the Bristol Channel, towards the Humber Estuary, with strong south easterly winds.”

If the depression developing in the North Atlantic takes hold as feared, Mr Western predicts near gale to gale force winds reaching 60mph to hit East Anglia tomorrow night through Monday morning.

But while some are warning of the worst storms in a quarter of a century, Mr Western stressed it is a “fast moving feature”, which may take a more southerly path over mainland Europe.

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Eddy Carroll, chief forecaster at the Met Office, said yesterday: “This storm doesn’t exist at the moment, but our forecasts models predict it is likely to develop in the West Atlantic on Saturday.

“Then it’s likely to rapidly intensify just west of the UK late on Sunday before tracking across England and Wales early on Monday.

“There is still a chance this storm may take a more southerly track and miss the UK, bringing impacts elsewhere in northern Europe, but people should be aware there is a risk of severe weather and significant disruption.

“With that in mind, people should keep up to date with and act on the advice in our forecasts and warnings as the situation develops.”

Forecasters are closely watching their weather maps to see how an area of low pressure is picked up by the jet stream as it moves across the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for Monday, meaning “be prepared”, for people living in the East of England, East Midlands, London, South East England, South West England, Wales, and the West Midlands. It gave a lesser yellow warning, meaning “be aware”, for the rest of Wales and England up to the border with Scotland. The storm is likely to develop in the West Atlantic tomorrow and is predicted to be powerful because of the strong jet stream and warm air close to the UK.

Dan Holley, forecaster for the University of East Anglia-based Weatherquest, said the wind was set to be quite breezy over the weekend, but was set to pick up on Sunday night and get stronger on Monday. He added that there was some uncertainty over how bad the weather might get.

“The low responsible has not even formed yet, but the computer model suggests that winds could be 50 to 60mph across the county and could go up to 70mph gusts on Monday. It could affect the morning rush hour on Monday and because the trees have been late losing their leaves there could be trees coming down and a problem with overhead power lines coming down and could cause problems for high sided vehicles,” he said.

Darron Burness, head of the AA’s flood rescue team, said: “If the predicted storm strikes, the timing couldn’t really be worse, potentially causing significant travel disruption on Monday morning, which is one of the busiest times on the roads.

“Strong wind and torrential rain is an unpredictable and hazardous combination, which can be quite overwhelming when you’re driving. There’s likely to be tree and other debris on the roads as well potential flooding, so it’s very important to keep your speed down and drive with great care, particularly on country roads early on Monday morning when it’s still dark.”