Storm Eleanor has hit Europe, with winds of up to 100mph (160km/h) affecting the UK and other countries, injuring people, leaving thousands of homes without power and bringing transport links to a halt.
At least four people were injured by falling trees in England and Wales and France’s interior ministry said nine people were hurt there. There were also power cuts and flight cancellations in western Europe.
A man in Glamorgan, south Wales, was taken to hospital with minor injuries, two more were hurt in Hampshire and another man was rescued from a tree-hit car in Braintree, Essex. West Mercia police said a man was hurt when a tree was brought down on the A46.
A pregnant woman who had gone into labour early was flown safely to hospital by helicopter as the storm passed across mid-Wales.
In France, four people were said to be in a serious condition after accidents caused by the winds. In Switzerland, the storm led to power cuts and, according to media reports, at least 11 flight cancellations at Zurich and Basel. While reports from Germany said zoos were closed, roads flooded and a train had derailed.
Coastal towns and villages in north Cornwall were among the worst hit in the UK. Part of the harbour wall at Portreath was washed away and high tides breached sea walls along the county’s north coast.
A sizeable chunk of a factory roof at one of Northern Ireland’s major businesses, Harland and Wolff (H&W) Heavy Industries, was ripped off by the storm, and about 23,000 customers in Northern Ireland lost electricity overnight on Tuesday, though the majority had been reconnected by Wednesday afternoon.
A yellow warning of wind remained active for all of England, Wales and Northern Ireland until 7pm on Wednesday after an amber warning was put in place for the early hours.
The Met Office said gusts of 100mph were recorded at Great Dun Fell in Cumbria at 1am, while recordings of 90mph were made at Orlock Head in Northern Ireland on Tuesday evening.
Gusts of up to 89mph were recorded on the Isle of Wight at about midnight, while in Northolt, north-west London, speeds of up to 73mph were detected, and 77mph gusts were recorded in High Bradfield, South Yorkshire.
The meteorologist Becky Mitchell said the risk of more violent storm-force gusts had lessened, although some areas could experience wind speeds of between 70mph and 80mph.
“Storm Eleanor has swept through and the eye is now crossing the North Sea, although there will continue to be strong gusts through the day,” she said.
“We have seen some heavy showers push through across the south of the UK, along with hail, loud thunder and lightning, which has woken people up. It is possible there will be quite widespread disruption this morning and it is worth checking before you travel.”
There were numerous reports of fallen trees blocking roads, including the M25. Overturned vehicles forced closures on the A1M and M6, as well as the M5, where a recovery operation was under way to clear up the contents of a lorry that spilled on to the road.
An object in the overhead lines between London Paddington and Hayes reduced the number of trains leaving the station, while power outages halted rail services between Letchworth Garden City and Cambridge.
Several bridges, including the Severn River Crossing between England and Wales, and the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk, were closed because of the winds.
Highways England said it was possible the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge across the Thames would have to close, and that the east tunnel of the Dartford Crossing had been shut in case it had to take diverted traffic.
Isle of Man police said infrastructure staff worked through the night to remove trees from roads, and there were multiple reports of roofs coming off buildings, and of flooding and mud debris.
The States of Jersey police said many roads remained closed owing to fallen trees, stormy weather and high waves.
As well as the problems posed by high winds, the Environment Agency issued 50 flood warnings and 110 flood alerts, with coastal areas under threat from a combination of a high tide and large waves.
In Cheshire, the RSPCA was called to a road in Poynton where a swan had taken up residence in a puddle, blocking traffic.