The Met Office’s severe weather alerts warn of flying debris, potential power cuts and disruption to transport and mobile phone signal.
Ireland is expected to be worst hit by the remnants of Ophelia, with the Irish national meteorological service, Met Éireann, saying the country will face one of the most powerful storm systems in 50 years.
The hurricane will be a storm when it hits the UK, exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18 people.
Very windy weather is expected across the entire west of the UK, with a yellow warning in place for much of Wales, Scotland, north-east England, north-west England, south-west England and the West Midlands. An amber warning has been issued for Northern Ireland.
Red weather warnings are in place in Ireland, where the national emergency coordination group met on Sunday morning to discuss preparations. High seas, gale-force winds, storm surges and widespread heavy rain are expected.
The Met Office said affected areas could face power cuts and travel disruption. “Some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs could happen, perhaps leading to injuries and danger to life from flying debris,” it warned.
The are yellow warnings for northern England and southern Scotland on Tuesday, but winds are expected to ease by the evening.
Beachgoers along the south coast of England have been warned to avoid hundreds of poisonous Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish blown ashore by the hurricane. The creatures – which travel by using a gas-filled bladder to act as a sail – can deliver a sting fatal to humans.
The storm follows a weekend of unusually warm weather, with some areas in the south reaching highs of 22C (71.6F) on Saturday, far above the average maximum October temperature for England of about 14C.
Temperatures in some areas of southern and eastern England are expected to exceed 20C on Monday, with isolated spots possibly reaching 24C or higher, due to warm air drawn up by Ophelia from Spain, according to the Met Office.