Barometric pressure could break all time record of 925mb

Weather forecasters are warning that a potentially fierce and damaging storm may hit Britain Sunday night and Monday morning.

Both the weather division of the Press Association, Meteogroup UK, and the Met Office said they were receiving reports that a band of exceptionally low pressure coming in from the west of the UK could bring heavy rain and bad weather.

However, there were differences in forecasts. A Met Office spokesman said that though their models had detected a band of low pressure in the "vicinity of the British Isles", all the models were telling the Met Office meteorologists slightly different things making "it unclear where it was going to go and of what strength it would be".

"It definitely looks like we're in for a windy spell this weekend and at the beginning of the week", the Met Office spokesman said.

Meteogroup UK's senior meteorologist, Stephen Davenport, went further saying: "this could well be the strongest storm of the winter."

Davenport said pressure in the centre of the low front could fall as low as 930mb west of Ireland. The lowest pressure yet recorded over the UK was 925.6mb at Ochtertyre, near Stirling, in Perthshire in 1884.

However, the storm forecast for Monday was unlikely to be quite that deep when it crossed the country.

He said: "This is exceptional weather. The forecast low pressure should give an idea of the ferocity of it.

"The winds we're looking at are enough to cause damage to property and trees." Winds gusting up to 70mph are forecast from early on Monday as a band of squally rain crosses the UK. Exposed areas in the west and near the south coast have been warned to expect winds up to 80mph.

The high winds are expected to ease during the day but increase again in the evening, with fierce gusts after dark in the west and south of the UK.

Mr Davenport said the storm was forecast to develop out of a strong jet stream moving out of Canada on Saturday and crossing the Atlantic and the UK during Sunday and Monday.

He said: "Wind speeds five or six miles up in the atmosphere will approach 240mph. Anyone flying back from North America at the end of the weekend might do so in record time."