Western Europe has been bracing itself for what some meteorologists are calling “a perfect storm.”
The weather system, carrying hurricane force winds of up to 160 kilometres an hour, developed in the Atlantic, just west of Madeira.
The Portuguese island was spared the worst, a week after floods killed 42 people there.
The storm then swept past the Canary Islands, again without causing any major damage. Now mainland Europe lies in the firing line, with the winds gathering momentum.
Portugal has firmly battened down the hatches, fearing floods along the Douro, Vouga and Tagus rivers.
The storm is then expected to make its way to the Spanish regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque country, all of which have been placed on maximum alert.
France will be next in line and residents along the country’s Atlantic coast are being advised not to travel unless absolutely necessary.