UK & World News
'Red Alert' As Storm Brings 100mph Winds
Britain's rail network is being thrown into chaos as 100mph gusts batter parts of the UK - with Virgin Trains urging customers to "abandon travel".
The operator's Twitter account said: "We are advising all customers not to attempt to travel. Customers already on services will be taken to the nearest station."
Spokesperson Jim Rowe said it was for safety reasons, adding: "The worst thing that can happen is that a train comes into contact with an obstruction and has an accident."
He said anyone who had not yet set out on their journey should not travel. He added that customers can use their tickets on services on Thursday.
Meanwhile Crewe station was evacuated and all services stopped after the roof was blown off the station.
The West Coast mainline between Preston and Shap in Cumbria†also closed for two hours from 7pm.
At Preston station, Sky correspondent Mike McCarthy said no trains were travelling north or south on the West Coast mainline.
The Met Office has issued a 'danger to life' red alert.
Northwest England and west Wales are getting the most ferocious winds, with 108mph recorded in Aberdaron, Gwynedd, and conditions worsening on the Lancashire coast.
Sunderland's Premier League match at Manchester City has reportedly been called off, while police warned locals to avoid the city centre.
Everton's home game against Crystal Palace was also called off.
The M6 in Cheshire is also closed.
About 42,000 homes and businesses in South Wales have lost power, while 12,400 in the West Midlands and 8,100 in the South West are also without electricity.
Ireland is also severely affected by the storm and 260,000 homes have lost power in the worst outage for years, according to the Electricity Supply Board (ESB).
A ship off the south coast of Ireland has recorded the most powerful gust so far, registering 110mph.
Winds of up to 81mph have also hit southwest England, closing the M48 Severn Bridge and, for a while, Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge.
A fresh deluge of a month's worth of rain is forecast for some areas by Friday night, heaping misery on communities already struggling with flooding.
Less serious "be prepared" and "be aware" warnings for snow, rain and wind are in place for other areas of Britain.
Live Updates: Floods Disruption Continues
Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said: "Winds will pick up dramatically this afternoon around the Irish Sea, west Wales and northwest England.
"Disruption across the Pennines later is more likely to be from the tricky mix of strong winds and heavy snowfall."
Liz Sullivan, from Ebbw Vale in south Wales, said: "We've had the worst wind and rain I've ever seen.
"People were struggling to walk, umbrellas were inside-out, and my bins were blown over my wall."
David Cameron held a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency committee this morning as flood-hit regions in Somerset and the Thames Valley brace for another blast of bad weather.
However, there will be no new money to pay for flood relief, Downing Street sources have told Sky News.
It comes a day after the Prime Minister pledged "money is no object" in the effort to helping flooded communities recover.
Fourteen severe flood warnings are still in place for the South East, close to the River Thames, with two further severe alerts for Somerset.
More than 400 less serious flood warnings and alerts are in force for the rest of England.
Meanwhile, the GMB union claims the Environment Agency has removed staff from Wraysbury in Berkshire after workers suffered abuse from locals.
Forecasters say 70mm of rain could fall by Friday night in the West Country, south Wales, western Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Southern and western areas are expected to get 20-40mm.
Windsor and Maidenhead and communities in Surrey, such as Staines, are at high risk of flooding over the next two days, according to the Environment Agency.
Some 600 people have been evacuated from homes in Surrey, according to police.
The rivers Severn and Wye are also "increasingly likely" to flood, said EA senior adviser Kate Marks.
Speaking to Sky News in Staines, local resident Rebecca Greenwood said: "I've been evacuated ... I've been informed by the council that someone has vandalised the local sewage pump, which means raw sewage is going to be coming up through the lavatories in my house.
"The main problem is there are friends and local residents still stranded, sort of stuck on an island ... I haven't seen one army person, one fireman or one policeman down my road - there's no one there."
Desperate home owners are also being warned about the potential dangers of using private pumps to clear water.
Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said some people are not ventilating their homes properly and are in danger of inhaling dangerous fumes like carbon monoxide. Other residents are also allowing cables to sit in flood waters.
Around 1,000 homes have been reported as flooded over the past week, including 800 along the Thames.
Six hundred troops have been deployed to help protect properties against the floods, filling sandbags and helping get medical assistance to the sick. Another 1,000 remain on stand-by.
A new Cabinet committee is being set up to oversee the flooding recovery and a tax deferral scheme will help businesses hit by flooding.
Up to £10m in new funding will also be found to support farmers and grants for homeowners and businesses will be made available to improve flood defences.
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.
:: Sky News has a special programme dedicated to the floods crisis every night this week at 7pm.
:: You can also watch Storm Nation Special this Thursday at 8pm on Sky 1 (Sky channel 106).
:: Email your photos and videos of the floods to firstname.lastname@example.org.