Forecasters are warning of a danger to life as well as major transport disruption as Storm Caroline barrels towards the UK.
The Met Office has issued an amber be prepared weather warning for northern Scotland, while many train services have already been cancelled.
In London, rush-hour commuters are set for heavy rain and strong winds, but the wet start will slowly make way for a brighter, clearer afternoon.
Met Office chief meteorologist Steve Ramsdale said the strongest winds from Storm Caroline will reach the northwest of Scotland early on Thursday, extending to northeast Scotland and the Northern Isles in the afternoon.
He added: During Thursday winds will start to ease in the west with the strongest of the winds becoming confined to the Northern Isles in the evening.
The strong wind warning is valid from 6am until 11.55pm on Thursday, with an amber warning for northern Scotland.
A yellow be aware” warning is in force for the southern half of Scotland and parts of the north of Northern Ireland between 6am and 6pm as well.
The Met Office said gusts of 70mph to 80mph are expected widely in northern Scotland, with winds of up to 90mph possible in exposed areas.
It said: Flying debris is likely and could lead to injuries or danger to life. Some damage to buildings is possible, such as tiles blowing off roofs.
Large waves are expected and beach material may be thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.
Train services have been suspended between Aberdeen and Inverness, Inverness and Wick, Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh as well some Glasgow Queen Street routes to the west coast.
Scotrail urged people living near tracks to secure any garden furniture and trampolines.
Scotland’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “With stormy weather expected across the north of Scotland we would urge people to check with their operators before they travel, especially if they are planning a ferry journey.
There may also be bridge restrictions, particularly for high-sided vehicles, and we would urge road users to check the latest information on wind thresholds on the Traffic Scotland website to see where this is likely.
Meanwhile, a North Sea platform shut down production due to safety fears over weather conditions caused by Storm Caroline.