Power cut as severe storm batters Britain
Winds of more than 80mph are battering parts of the UK, as what forecasters have called an "exceptional" storm sweeps through the British Isles.
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Trees have been uprooted and buildings damaged across the country, with the emergency services bracing themselves after a night of gale-force winds.
The morning commute has been disrupted across the south of Britain, with many trains cancelled and roads blocked. A number of short-haul flights from Heathrow and Gatwick airports have also been cancelled.
More than 4,500 homes in the West Country and South Wales were left without power after falling trees crashed through power lines.
A 11,000-tonne tanker carrying gas oil and 13 crew has run into trouble off the Isle of Wight. A lifeboat is alongside if an evacuation is deemed necessary.
The Swedish vessel, bound for Fawley, Hampshire, has now been anchored and is due to be towed into deeper water.
There have been no reports of major damage, but forecasters warn the extreme weather will continue across southern England throughout the day.
Gusting winds ripped tiles off roofs in Sussex , while houses in Wales had their roofs blown off overnight.
In Solva, St David's, west Wales, the roof of a garage blew off at about 4.40am, damaging the roof of the main house and leading to water entering the property, a spokesman for the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said.
At 3am, firefighters were called to Freshwater East, Pembrokeshire, where the tin roof of a shed had become loose, and was secured to an adjoining bungalow, the spokesman added.
The Environment Agency issued severe flood warnings across Devon and Cornwall, and a further six flood warnings and 31 flood watches across the country.
About 170 residents of a caravan park were evacuated by overnight as a precaution ahead of the expected stormy weather.
People have been urged to stay away from coastal areas amid concerns that they could be swept away by gale-force winds.
A tree lies across the A26 between Lewes and Uckfield in Sussex
David Rooke, the Environment Agency's head of flood risk management, said: "The strong winds will combine with spring high tides to significantly elevate the water levels along the coast which is likely to cause some flooding. We understand that people are fascinated by the sea but at times like this we do urge them not to go and watch the high waves - it is extremely dangerous and only takes a few seconds for someone to be knocked off their feet into the water."
The storm developed from a band of exceptionally low pressure that crossed the Atlantic yesterday, combined with higher than average spring tides.
The South will take the heaviest battering during the storm, which is expected to continue into this evening.
The Met Office put severe weather warnings in place across all of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and large parts of Scotland.
Last night, Gordon Brown and government officials held talks to plan a response to the storm threat.
Commuters struggle through heavy rain and strong winds across London Bridge
Forecasters have warned people to stay indoors, and drive only if absolutely necessary.
British Airways cancelled several short-haul and domestic flights out of Heathrow last night, and airports have advised travellers to check with airlines before leaving home.
P&O Ferries cancelled its Portsmouth to Bilbao service, while the coastguard advised leisure sailors to avoid the sea until the storm passes.