Thousands of London commuters were hit by delays on road and rail yesterday as Storm Eleanor left a trail of destruction across the country.
Fallen trees and flying debris blocked or damaged major routes into the capital after gusts of up to 73mph battered London in the early hours.
At least four people were injured by fallen trees, with overturned cars blocking roads and garden furniture blown on to railway tracks.
A 50mph speed limit was imposed across the largest commuter network, South West Railways, with some long-distance trains from Weymouth to Waterloo cancelled altogether or suffering delays of up to an hour.
There was also disruption on Gatwick Express, Southern and Thameslink routes yesterday morning.
Lines were blocked by falling trees at Tooting in south London, Ickenham in west London, and Horsham and Three Bridges in West Sussex, while another fell on Platform 1 at Horley station in Surrey.
An “object” caught in the overhead lines between Paddington and Hayes has reduced the number of trains leaving the terminal.
A body was recovered from the sea at Splash Point in Seaford, East Sussex, at 8am yesterday morning. It remains unclear whether the death is related to the storm.
A pregnant woman who went into labour early was flown by helicopter from Tywyn, west Wales, to a specialist neonatal unit in Bodelwyddan in 60mph winds.
About 2,500 properties between Cornwall and the Midlands were also hit by blackouts, largely due to flying debris, Western Power Distribution said.
The collapse of a harbour wall in Portreath, Cornwall prompted the council to set up a respite centre for seafront residents if they wished to leave their homes.
It is feared there could be greater risk posed to the properties without the defence of the wall, which lost a 30ft stretch to crashing waves, once high tide arrives just after 6pm.
A spokeswoman for Cornwall Council said: “It is not an evacuation, no. They are being given the option to go to the local church hall if they want to during the high-tide period.
“The harbour wall has collapsed and a high tide expected so it’s just a precaution, really.”
Elsewhere, tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland suffered power outages as they bore the brunt of the storm. They included 55,000 properties in the republic and 20,000 customers in Northern Ireland.
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