Storm Eleanor: Almost 25,000 homes lose power

Almost 25,000 homes have been left without power as Storm Eleanor batters Britain with winds of up to 90mph.

The dangerous conditions swept in from the Atlantic on Tuesday evening, with around 22,000 homes in Northern Ireland and nearly 2,000 more in the Midlands affected by power cuts.

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks said it restored supply to 10,000 properties but another 12,000 would be without power overnight.

Image:Despite rain being forecast, umbrellas are unlikely to be of much use

A spokesman said: "It's very difficult to make repairs because we have to think about the safety of our employees, most repairs will start at first light (on Wednesday)."

An amber weather warning was issued for southern parts of Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England, with properties in the South West and Wales also left without power.

The Met Office said the dangerously high winds could put lives at risk, with video from Galway showing the city's docks flooded, streets under water and people driving along the seafront as huge waves endangered their vehicle.

Police and council workers blocked streets, diverted traffic and handed out sandbags, people in the area said.

The fifth named storm of the season is expected to ensure a "very windy" start to Wednesday, with the potential for travel disruption as people settle back into their working routine after Christmas and New Year.

The QEII Bridge at the Dartford Crossing was shut overnight on Tuesday, but it is due to reopen in time for the rush hour on Wednesday morning and planned maintenance on the tunnels has been postponed.

Elsewhere, motorists were stopped on the clockwise carriageway of the M25 between junctions 17 and 18 after a tree fell on the road, and an overturned vehicle closed the northbound carriageway of the M5 between junctions six and five.

The Severn Crossing between Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire was also closed between junctions one and two due to the wind.

A man goes for a swim in the Irish sea at Low Rock in Portmarnock, Dublin
Image:A man goes for a swim in the Irish sea at Low Rock in Portmarnock, Dublin

Vince Crane, of the AA, advised drivers to take extra care in the worsening conditions.

"Road conditions can quickly deteriorate during very heavy rainfall, with drains becoming swamped or blocked and standing water causing surface spray, reduced visibility and potentially leading to flooding," he said.

"Drivers will need to take extra care and expect delays, even on motorways. Strong or sudden gusts of wind are more likely on open stretches of road, when passing bridges or gaps in hedges, or when overtaking high-sided vehicles."

A yellow weather warning for wind covering most of England, Wales and southern Scotland is expected to remain in place until around 6pm on Wednesday, with gusts of 60mph to 70mph likely.

:: UK weather: The latest Sky News forecast

Western coastal areas could see gusts of up to 90mph and the warning says that large waves and spray means "there is a chance that injuries and danger to life could occur".

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The Environment Agency has warned that strong winds and high tides could bring coastal flooding until Thursday, with a total of 65 flood warnings and dozens of alerts across the country.

Carol Halt, the agency's flood duty manager, said: "We urge people to stay safe on the coast – take extreme care on coastal paths and promenades, and don't put yourself in unnecessary danger trying to take 'storm selfies'."

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