Disruption to power, travel, damage to buildings and a ‘danger to life’, is a possibility for the majority of the South West in the next 24 hours according to the MET Office.

Storm Eunice, which is due to hit the South West coast in the early hours of Friday morning, has been escalated by the MET Office from Amber to Red Wind Warnings for North Devon and Cornwall.

Gusts of up to 100mph are possible, with peak inland wind speeds expected to reach 80mph.

A spokesperson for Devon County Council said: “We are advising people to only travel if necessary with ‘extremely strong winds’ expected over the next few days and reaching a peak in the early hours of tomorrow (Friday) morning.”

Winds, are expected to be at their strongest in coastal areas between 3 am to 9 am on Friday, with gusts of 90-100mph possible in some areas.

There is an increasing likelihood of widespread inland wind gusts of 60-70mph and up to 80mph, with strong winds expected to continue over the weekend.

The MET Office says that Eunice may cause ‘significant disruption’ on the country’s roads, and there is a good chance flying debris could result in ’a danger to life.’

On the coast, flooding and large waves are likely.

During these times, the advice is to stay away from coastal paths and coastal areas as beach debris is likely to be thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties.

Devon County Council has drafted extra staff into Devon County Council’s Network Operations Control Centre, and extra highways teams will be on call ready to respond.

Teams of tree surgeons will also be on stand-by to clear any fallen trees on the county’s roads.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The Met Office has increased its alert level and Storm Eunice will make travelling conditions quite perilous for much of Friday morning and we are advising if you can avoid travelling, please do so.

“The forecast of such strong winds may well lead to fallen trees or branches, and other debris. If you must travel, please take extra care, particularly when it’s dark when it’s more difficult to see debris on the road.

“To prepare for this, extra people are being drafted into staff our Network Operations Control Centre and highways teams and tree surgeons will be on standby.

“If possible, postpone your journey until conditions improve and if you do have to travel, slow down, allow extra time for your journey and drive according to the conditions. Keep an eye on travel updates and weather forecasts and please plan your journey.”

Devon County Council is reminding people of the following advice:

• Avoid overnight travel unless essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with poorer visibility;

• Be alert to fallen trees and branches, particularly on minor roads where they may not have been reported;

• Consider if your journey is essential and be alert to weather warnings;

• Never drive through floodwater or swollen flowing water, you don’t know how deep it is. Find an alternative route;

• Allow additional time for your journey;

• Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front and leave plenty of room if you’re overtaking;

• Drive with care and according to the conditions.