Gales from Hurricane Katia are expected to cross the Atlantic and batter the UK later today.

The Met office issued urgent weather alerts for Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North East, North West and parts of the Midlands and Wales.

Central and southern Scotland and parts of Northern England will be hardest hit with winds expected to reach 80 mph.

The Met Office warned that high windscould fell trees and power lines while the Environment Agency said heavy rain could cause flooding on both the west and east coasts.

"The remains of Hurricane Katia are expected to come across the UK, bringing a spell of very windy weather. There remains some uncertainty about its track and intensity, though with increasing indications that Scotland and Northern Ireland are most likely to bear the brunt.” The Met Office said.

"The public should be aware of the risk of disruption to transport and of the possibility of damage to trees and structures."

The severe weather is expected to bring widespread disruption. High winds have already forced the cancellation of the Tour of Britain cycle race, between Kendall and Blackpool. Part of The M6 near Cheshire was also closed and high speed ferries from Portsmouth to France have been cancelled.

Rated category 4 out of 5, Katia is the second major hurricane of the season, following closely on the heels of Irene.

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