Forecasters have upgraded weather warnings ahead of Storm Hector, which could bring gusts in excess of 70mph to parts of the UK.
Much of Britain is covered by a yellow warning, but the north and west of Northern Ireland – which will see the first winds hit in the early hours of Thursday – is now subject to a more serious amber warning.
The Met Office said injuries and a danger to life is “likely” in coastal areas in Northern Ireland, with the chance of large waves and potential for beach debris to end up on roads, sea fronts and properties.
People have been advised to take care during rush hour with potential disruption due to fallen trees and the possibility that outdoor summer furniture will have been blown around overnight.
The storm, bringing wet as well as windy weather, will move across Scotland and the north of England throughout the morning, and the yellow warning remains in place until 3pm.
The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex’s first engagement together – opening Cheshire’s Mersey Gateway Bridge and the Storyhouse Theatre – may be hit by strong gusts, with winds of 60mph forecast for the north of England.
Such stormy weather is “quite unusual for this time of year” forecaster Luke Miall said.
“The worst of the weather is going to be in the morning rush hour for most people,” he said.
“The storm is likely to clear to the north east around lunchtime or just after 1pm.”
Southern England and Wales are likely to escape the worst of the windy weather, he added.