Britons are being warned to brace themselves for a so-called "weather bomb" that will cause heavy disruption to travel today.
The Met Office has issued a number of amber and yellow weather warnings as the cold front sweeps in, bringing winds of up to 80mph.
The rapid cyclogenesis - known colloquially as a "weather bomb" - is a deep low pressure system moving slowly eastwards between Scotland and Iceland.
Drivers are being told to expect disruption to both morning and evening rush hours.
Sky News Weather Producer Rebecca Yussuf said: "Gusts of 60 to 70mph will develop quite widely across the north, with perhaps 80mph over northwest Scotland.
"Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and northern parts of the Republic are likely to see some travel disruption during both the Wednesday morning and evening rush hours."
The freezing winds will peak today, but more southerly areas of the UK are likely to be hit by a second storm due to roll in from the Atlantic on Thursday night.
England, Wales, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland could all be hit by 70mph winds.
Ferry services in Scotland have already been disrupted as the winds whipped up unusually high waves, with sea swells of up to 12m in parts.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has eight flood alerts in place for the west coast.
The Forth, Kessock and Skye bridges have been closed to high-sided vehicles because of the rising wind speeds.
Several train services will also be cancelled as a safety precaution, Network Rail and ScotRail have announced.
Meanwhile, Western Isles Council said all schools and nurseries there will be closed.
The Met Office initially issued yellow warnings for the week, but several were increased to amber - meaning people should "be prepared".
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