As Storm Henry threatens to bring gale speeds of nearly 100mph, the Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for most of Scotland and northern England. The amber "be prepared" warning is the second highest weather warning and is expected to come into effect from 3pm on Monday 1 February, remaining in place until 2 February, Tuesday morning.
With large parts of the country on alert for the storm, weather forecasters have issued a number of ways for the public to prepare for the strong winds. According to the Met Office, gales are the most common cause of damage and disruption in the UK, with the average cost of wind damage each year amounting to £300m.
Before the storm
Insurance company Ageas urged the public to conduct quick checks around their homes and property before the worst of the winds hit, reminding people that insurance won't cover damage caused by poor maintenance.
A spokesperson for Ageas said: "When winds are strong enough to damage your home it's often a bit late, let alone dangerous to start climbing a ladder to do that repair to the garage roof you've been meaning to tackle for ages."
They advise people to check their roofs first for missing or loose tiles and pay special attention to flat roofs of garages and sheds. These roofs are believed to be weakened by wear and tear and, therefore, unlikely to support any additional weight from falling branches or other debris.
The Met Office also warned people to secure any loose objects, such as ladders and garden furniture that could be blown into windows. Doors and windows should also be secured, particularly any loft trapdoors. Furthermore, vehicle owners are encouraged to park in a garage to keep clear of falling trees or fences.
During the storm
The Met Office advises people to stay indoors as much as possible during storms with high wind speeds. For those who do need to go outside, it is best to walk far away from buildings and trees to avoid being injured by any falling debris.
With the Met Office warning of disruption to travel during the storm, commuters are advised not to travel on exposed routes such as bridges or high open roads. Experts urge motorists to travel at slow speeds during stormy conditions as side winds pose a risk of affecting vehicles, particularly high-sided ones.
After the storm
Even after the winds have eased, Ageas advises people to keep their distance from walls, buildings and trees that could still be at risk of collapsing after weakening by the winds. The insurance company also urges customers to make their claims as soon as possible, should they need insurance to cover any damage caused by the storm. The public are warned not to touch any electrical or telephone cables that have been blown onto the ground and to contact the relevant authorities to deal with it instead.