Trees come down overnight as Devon is hit by gale force winds
Parts of the South West have been battered by gale force winds of up to 65mph, while rain is also expected to lash many areas of the country.
Parts of Devon received a drenching yesterday afternoon with up to 30mm (1.2in) of rain set to fall by lunchtime today.
Devon saw more than 18mm (¾in) in six hours in Dunkeswell, and around 12mm (½in) fell in Exeter and Okehampton.
Trees fell and blocked the road along the Ladock to Grampound road and in Beaworthy, in Devon.
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In Paignton, fire fighters shut off the electric supply to a house after it was flooded.
Further along the coast, in Sidmouth, a manhole cover was raised on Woolbrook Road and drainage water flooded the carriageway.
The Environment Agency said the biggest risk was heavy winds pushing high spring tides over defences and flooding streets.
Spokesman Paul Gainey said officials were keeping a "watching brief" but warned there could be a real problem "if the wind picks up".
The unseasonable weather has already seen a number of trees brought down, including one which crushed a car near Tavistock, Devon, on yesterday afternoon.
Crews from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service used cutting gear to remove the roof of the vehicle and release a woman who was taken to hospital.
Trees were blown down around Plymouth and the surrounding area.
In Ernesettle a fallen tree left Ben Johns's car with minor damage.
Hyde Park road was half-blocked by a fallen tree, Lipson Terrace was completely blocked and a tree fell down on Royal Parade, narrowly missing passers-by.
Earlier in the day part of Blunts Lane in Ernesettle was closed during the morning rush hour because of concerns about a huge fir tree leaning to one side.
The road was re-opened after an hour.
A fallen tree also caught fire after it brought down power lines across the River Axe at Forde Abbey in Chard, Somerset, on Thursday night.
Rain affected many areas on Thursday with the first day of the third Test between England and the West Indies at Edgbaston washed out.
Dustbins were knocked over in Derriford, litter blown into the street in Manadon and garden waste ended up littering some streets in Peverell.
One lane of the Tamar Bridge was closed overnight because of high winds.
The Plymouth Breakwater was also shut during the night.
A handful of homes in Plymstock were without power after a tree fell on electricity lines.
Western Power Distribution’s Tracey Carr said the company’s engineers were working 24 hours a day to repair felled lines across the region in what she described as “very difficult conditions” yesterday.
The Environment Agency issued a flood alert for the entire South Cornwall coast, from Land’s End to Plymouth.
The alert remained in place yesterday despite the weather easing off as it moved North.
Five French fishermen were being towed to the safety of Plymouth Sound this morning after getting stranded in stormy waters.
The Plymouth Lifeboat coordinated the rescue of the Maranello, whose power failed in waters 20 miles south of Fowey.
Brixham Coastguard said the ship suffered a complete engine failure in rough seas late on Thursday night.
The fishing vessel’s five-strong crew endured gale force winds overnight as a nearby boat anchored nearby to keep watch.
The rescue operation swung into action at around 6.15am this morning as the city’s all-weather lifeboat was launched.
Because of the severe weather conditions, the rescue is likely to continue for several hours, a Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said.
Meanwhile, a sailor who had set off on a yacht race from the city had to be airlifted to safety by a crew from RNAS Culdrose after his boat twice capsized.
Peter Evans was rescued after his 22ft yacht got into difficulties in a Force 9 gale 40 miles off the Cornish coast.
The 54-year-old said his single-handed yacht Federwolke was battered by waves as he took on the Jester Challenge race to the Azores.
Devon County Council said it had cleared around 50 trees since the storm arrived on Thursday.
Several small boats sank in Hooe Lake in “unremitting” winds, one local resident said.
And an outdoor marquee at North Hill bar Ride 2 was completely blown down in the strong gusts.
A spokesman for the Met Office said the South Coast would be battered by severe gales while temperatures would be cool for the time of year, with the maximum expected to be 16C (61F).
Rain will also fall on much of the country with Wales due to get the biggest drenching.