UK storm: Misery continues in the South

Storm demolished Lyme Bay National Coastwatch Institution's lookout Image copyright National Coastwatch Institution
Image caption The National Coastwatch Institution for Lyme Bay said its Burton Bradstock lookout had been "blown away"

Thousands of homes are without power, many roads have closed and rail services are disrupted after storms battered the South.

Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) said engineers, linesmen and tree cutters were "working to locate and repair damage and restore power".

Several flood warnings remain in place along the River Thames.

It comes after winds of up to 80mph (128km/h) hit the region on Friday and Saturday.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for ice and rain.

SEPD said rural areas, including in Slough, Oxford, Poole and the New Forest, had been affected by power cuts since Friday.

It said power had been restored to about 100,000 homes, but added winds, fallen trees and flooding had made it difficult for engineers to access the damaged areas.

Image copyright PAul king
Image caption In Basingstoke a tree fell on the roof of St Thomas of Canterbury Church and opened up graves

Southeastern Trains has closed several routes due to the storms and First Great Western has advised passengers not to travel.

Services are also disrupted between Banbury and Leamington Spa after a landslip on the rails.

Hampshire Constabulary said its control room received 2,033 calls in 24 hours - twice the daily average - with many reporting fallen trees and flooding.

Image copyright Lewis Coombes
Image caption Trees fell across the South, including one on Victoria Square in Lee on the Solent

In Hampshire, a tree fell on to the roof of St Thomas of Canterbury Church in Basingstoke and opened up a number of graves.

Hundreds of trees were also uprooted in Oxfordshire, which sparked a large scale clear-up.

On Friday night, emergency services and the Army rescued 32 people trapped in a beachfront restaurant at Milford on Sea.

Some residents in Dorset and Hampshire have been evacuated from their flooded homes, including 25 homes in the Buckskin area of Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Waves of up to 33ft (10m) reportedly threatened to cut off Portland in Dorset, while people in Portsmouth have been receiving hoax calls urging them to evacuate their homes amid flooding fears, Hampshire Police said.

Image copyright PAul King
Image caption Hampshire fire crews in Basingstoke rescued a woman from Buckskin Estate on Friday night

The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) for Lyme Bay said its lookout at Burton Bradstock had been "blown away" on Friday night.

Earlier, the M40 was closed between junction 6 and 8 for 12 hours due to fallen trees on the carriageway.

The Army has been in Datchet in Berkshire loading up sandbags. Volunteers are helping with the clear up in the town.

Reading University microbiologist Ben Neuman said he had found high levels of faecal-contaminated, disease-ridden bacteria in flood water in Wraysbury, Berkshire.

He said these bacteria could "cause typhoid fever, dysentery and hepatitis".

Armed Forces minister Mark Francois was in Reading to meet the reserve soldiers from 7th Battalion the Rifles, who volunteered to help with the flooding.

Water has been restored to thousands of homes in Hampshire, from Farnham to West Meon, following power failures at South East Water sites on Friday.

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