Britain is facing a ‘travel nightmare after Christmas’ with the country set to be hit by a 70mph ‘weather bomb’ before the New Year.
Hogmanay and New Year’s Eve celebrations have been thrown into doubt as several storms threaten to batter the UK, which could disrupt millions of travellers.
The sudden change in weather comes after a mild Christmas where temperatures in some areas will be hotter than Istanbul and Madrid .
There are hopes for some snow on Christmas Day evening in the North and West after heavy rain earlier in the day, but most parts will be mild between 8C and 14C.
The Met Office forecast reads: “Rain turning to snow mostly over hills in Scotland, and possibly over hills in the North and West.”
(Image: Met Office)
But festive storms Dylan and Eleanor, the fourth and fifth to be named by the Met Office, threaten to bring 70mph winds before New Year’s Eve on Sunday.
The Weather Outlook and Netweather warned a ‘weather bomb’ threatens the country.
A ‘weather bomb’ sees ‘explosive cyclogenesis’ as air pressure plunges by more than 24 milibars in 24 hours, whipping up wild winds.
The Met Office said a storm undergoing cyclogenesis was not uncommon at this time of year, and would bring fierce gusts.
The first bout of gales hit a blustery Christmas Eve, with 50mph gusts in the West and North.
The Met Office said Boxing Day sees a second low pressure area bring the risk of 50mph gales to the South late in the day, with worse spells of 60mph-plus gales set to follow in two further bursts just before and around New Year’s Eve.
The Weather Outlook forecast an “Atlantic attack” with four stormy spells each with 50-70mph gusts and the risk of New Year’s Eve disruption.
Scotland’s New Year’s Eve Hogmanay celebrations were cancelled due to storms in Stirling in 2014, and in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling in 2006.
The Met Office will name Storms Dylan and Eleanor when Atlantic weather systems have potential for amber warnings for wind, with rain or snow impacts also considered.
Storms Dylan and Eleanor would become Britain’s fourth and fifth named storms this winter, after Aileen on September 12-13, Brian on October 21 and 124mph Caroline on December 7.
This Christmas is set to be the third in a row hit by storm chaos.
83mph Storm Barbara saw 15,000 power cuts and disrupted travel on December 23 and 24 last year.
Storm Eva’s 80mph winds caused Christmas Eve travel misery in 2015, with the army called in on Christmas Day as floods swamped the North.
Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said: “Rapid cyclogenesis is not uncommon at this time of year and would bring us windy weather.
“A named storm can’t be ruled out by any means later next week towards New Year.
“Christmas Eve will be blustery for most with 50mph gusts in the West and North.
“Christmas Day will be mild, but heavy rain in northern England and southern Scotland has the chance of snow, with a rain band moving across the rest of the UK later in the day.
“Boxing Day sees a spell of wet and windy weather for the South, with isolated 50mph gusts on coasts into Wednesday morning.
“A series of low-pressure areas follow. It says windy with the risk of gales or severe gales towards New Year’s Eve, bringing an increased risk of disruption. Gusts could be over 60mph on coasts.”
(Image: Daily Mirror)
The Met Office has said: “A ‘weather bomb’ is an unofficial term for a low pressure system whose central pressure falls 24 millibars in 24 hours, in a process known as explosive cyclogenesis.”
The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “There is a risk of a low pressure system deepening enough to be termed a ‘weather bomb.’ It could be the travel nightmare after Christmas.
“It’s increasingly likely Storm Dylan and potentially Storm Eleanor will be named by around New Year.
“An Atlantic attack sees stormy low pressure areas are due on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, December 28-29 and around New Year’s Eve, each bringing gusts around 50-70mph.
“With many people travelling and outdoor events on New Year’s Eve, some disruption is likely.”
Netweather forecaster Nick Finnis said: “There is a risk of one or two deep lows, perhaps being named by the Met Office.
“There is potential deep cyclogenesis or ‘bombogenesis’ of the depressions. Such lows could bring severe gales or storm-force winds.”
The Weather Company said: “A deep cyclone is forecast over northwestern Europe from Wednesday.”
Ex-BBC and Met Office forecaster John Hammond of weathertrending said: “The jet stream will catapult a series of low pressure systems in our direction, set to bring bouts of wet and windy weather.”