Batten down the hatches – there's a storm brewing
JUST how bad will it be?
That's the question on everybody's lips as one of the most powerful storms in years races towards South West Wales.
Precautions are being taken as the intense area of low pressure, which did not even exist yesterday, deepens and tracks from the Atlantic towards the UK.
Forecasters are monitoring its progress closely and have issued severe weather warnings for the southern half of the UK.
But uncertainty remains as to which areas will bear the behemoth's biggest brunt.
Gusts of up to 90mph are expected in the worst affected areas, structural damage is likely and travel disruption on Monday morning virtually guaranteed.
Waves are starting to build off the Gower coast, with 15ft surf set to barrel into Llangennith tomorrow afternoon.
It has been labelled the St Jude's storm after the patron saint of lost causes, whose feast falls on Monday, and could be the worst storm we've seen since now the infamous one of 1987.
"We get the occasional 10 to 12ft waves, but 15ft — that is big," said Norman Whomes, owner of Hot Dog Surf Shop, Kittle, Gower.
Coastguards have urged surfers and kite-surfers to use their common sense as conditions deteriorate.
Mr Whomes said: "If there is one thing surfers are in tune with, it's the wind and waves."
Swansea Coastguard said all sailors and water users should keep a close eye on weather updates. Carmarthenshire Council said it expected its upgrades on the Millennium Coastal Path to withstand whatever was thrown at them. A section of the path near Burry Port was badly damaged by a storm surge around six years ago.
"We would not anticipate that we will have problems," said a council spokesman.
The good news is that there are no spring tides at present, lessening the potential impact of the pounding waves on coastal defences. But heavy rain could also cause problems inland.
Chris Giles, waste water manager for Severn Trent water utility said: "We're aware that this weather is coming and we're working hard to get ready for it.
"Unfortunately, in stormy weather, the drains and sewers often have significantly more water flowing through them. When we get a lot of rain in one go, it has a hard time sinking into the ground, so it just runs off the surface and goes directly into drains and sewers." Audrey Frank, station manager at NCI (National Coastwatch Institution) Rhossili, said she would tell volunteer watch keepers to step down on Monday morning if conditions were dangerous.
"We have had a couple of occasions where we had people blown over walking from their cars," she said. "If there is wind, it is really wild here."
For up-to-date information about power cuts, ring 0800 052 0400 or visit www.westernpower.co.uk.
Swansea Council be can be reached on 01792 636000, and Neath Port Talbot Council can be reached on 01639 686868.