Weather: Gale Force Winds And Rain Batter UK
No trains are running in parts of the country and dozens of major roads are closed as another powerful storm sweeps in off the Atlantic.Winds of up to 80mph are battering exposed coastlines but inland gusts of around 60mph have brought down hundreds of trees.
A woman was killed when part of a building fell on her car in central London, while a cruise ship passenger died when a freak wave crashed into a ship in the English Channel.
The latest storm to strike UK is causing travel chaos, with Southeastern train services suspended until at least 11am while lines are checked for damage.
There is severe disruption on many other rail routes, including those run by South West Trains, First Great Western and CrossCountry.
Meanwhile, the Highways Agency has closed a number of key routes, including parts of the M40, M48 and A14, as well as the M2, A30 and A249.
UK Power Networks said “exceptionally high winds” had knocked out power supplies to around 165,000 homes and businesses.
Most have since been reconnected, although an estimated 20,000 remain without power.
As well as the strong winds, heavy rain has raised fears of further flooding in areas already under water.
Gloucester is thought to be at high risk, while there is no respite for the Thames Valley where river water levels remain at their highest for decades.
In Dawlish, south Devon, shipping containers acting as an emergency flood defence after part of the seafront railway was washed away have been breached, leaving homes vulnerable to flooding.
Police evacuated some villagers as a precaution, while the coastguard pleaded with people to stay away from coastal areas after four people had to rescued from their cars further along the coast in Torcross.
Portland, Dorset, was feared to have been cut off during the night after storm surges covered the causeway linking it to the mainland.
Meanwhile, two hill walkers who went missing in poor weather conditions on Ben Nevis in Scotland have been found after a search by mountain rescue teams.
Forecasters expect the storms to recede later on Saturday, but heavy rain will continue to affect parts of the UK during the morning.
The Environment Agency has issued more than 200 flood warnings, including 21 severe alerts, meaning there is a danger to life, for the South East, South West and Midlands
The Met Office has also issued yellow warnings for rain for much of southern England and Wales, as well as amber warnings for wind along the south coast.
Since early December, 5,800 properties have been flooded across the country.
Some 2,200 military personnel have been drafted in to deal with the crisis by filling sandbags, putting up barriers and helping stranded residents, while a further 3,000 are on standby.
Around 70% of the fire and rescue service in England and Wales are also involved in the flood relief effort – the largest deployment since World War Two.
Sky weather producer Joanna Robinson said: “Saturday morning, England and Wales will be fairly cloudy with outbreaks of heavy rain and hill snow, especially in the south and west.
“Further river flooding is possible, as Friday’s rain makes its way through the river system.
“Strong winds will continue to affect parts of the south, particularly south-east England and Channel coasts, with flooding a concern at high tide.”