THE Met Office is warning people to be on their guard this weekend as Storm Ciara is due to hit whole of the UK with a vengeance.

A yellow warning of strong gales from 12pm on Saturday to midnight on Sunday are forecast, along with heavy rain from midnight on Saturday to 6pm on Sunday.

The warnings state there are risks of localised flooding and potential damage from high winds.

Met Office chief meteorologist, Frank Saunders, said: “Storm Ciara will bring damaging winds and heavy rain across the UK this weekend and we have issued a range of severe weather warnings giving people time to prepare for potential impacts of the storm.

“Winds will increase through Saturday across Northern Ireland, Scotland, northern England and Wales, before turning very windy across the rest of UK through the early hours of Sunday morning. Gusts of 50 to 60 mph are expected quite widely across inland areas, with even stronger gusts of 80mph or higher along coastal areas, especially in southeast England and northern Scotland.”

Transport is also expected to be affected, with Network Rail issuing a statement to urge passengers to check journeys before they travel, particularly on Sunday when the worst of the gales are expected to hit.

A spokesman said: "High wind speeds can cause damage to overhead line equipment, which is used to power trains. If this equipment becomes damaged, it can cause severe disruption for passengers. To try and minimise the impact the wind will have on the railway, speed restrictions of 50mph have been imposed along routes in the area.

"The speed restrictions reduce the chance of overhead line equipment becoming damaged. However, this does mean that fewer services are able to run, and those which do run will take longer than usual.

"Strong gusts of wind can also lead to potential obstructions on the tracks, such as debris or fallen trees.

The safety of our staff and passengers is our main priority and extra teams will be out across Yorkshire and the North East. People who live near the railway are also encouraged to clear away garden furniture or trampolines.

Matt Rice, Route Director for Network Rail, said: “We would like to reassure passengers that we are doing all that we can to keep them moving this weekend, but disruption to services is expected.

“We are well prepared for Storm Ciara and have extra teams working to allow as many trains as possible to run. We are working closely with train operators.

“With essential speed restrictions in place, we strongly advise passengers to allow plenty of time for their journeys, and to check before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator.”