STORM Ciara is approaching and is expected to hit this afternoon.

Safety warnings have been issued by the Met Office as gusts of more than 50mph are being anticipated. The storm is forecast to hit the North West later this evening, with the weather deteriorating overnight and into Sunday morning.

Yellow warnings of wind have been issued by the Met Office for the North West on Saturday.

On Sunday, a yellow warning of wind covers the entire country, with amber warnings also across the country.

Forecasters have warned there could be delays and cancellations to air, ferry and train services, damage to buildings and a chance of power cuts caused by wild weather conditions.

Several rail firms announced they will operate reduced timetables amid speed restrictions due to gusts of up to 80mph.

Disruption could continue into Monday morning as repair work may be hampered by the conditions.

Network Rail and train operators in England issued an alert to passengers, which read: "Only travel by train this Sunday if absolutely necessary."

The latest advice comes from road transport bosses, as Storm Ciara will also lead to treacherous conditions on many roads.

The AA breakdown rescue service and road safety charity IAM RoadSmart have issued tips on staying safe behind the wheel.

Here is a summary of their advice:

1. Do not even start your journey if weather conditions are extreme.

2. Check weather and traffic information updates regularly and plan your route carefully, allowing extra time.

3. Keep both hands on the wheel with a firm grip.

4. Take extra care when passing cyclists, motorcyclists and horse-riders.

5. Keep your distance from other vehicles, particularly high-sided vehicles and caravans.

6. Prepare for strong gusts of wind, such as in gaps between buildings and after overtaking larger vehicles.

7. Keep your speed down. This will give you more time to avoid debris and reduce the extent you are blown of course.

8. Take note of the movement of trees to get an indication of wind strength.

9. Keep an eye out for twigs or small branches in the road. They could indicate there is a fallen tree or large branch around the next bend.

10. Be aware that partially fallen trees can be hard to spot if they hang above the sweep of your headlights.