More than 40,000 homes are without power and commuters are facing severe travel disruption after the worst storm in years lashed the UK.

Winds of almost 100mph have left h ouses across large parts of the South and East without electricity.

More than 40 railway lines have been cleared of fallen trees, with many more expected throughout the morning, Network Rail said.

The storm the South West shortly before midnight and moved north and eastwards throughout the early hours, leaving a trail of destruction.

Police said at least 125 trees were down across roads in Sussex by 6.30am, and Kent Police said at least 70 trees had been blown down across the county.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) said more than 38,000 customers were left without power in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, while Western Power reported a further 3,800 power cuts in the same areas.

Trains across the country have been disrupted, with many operators not expecting to run services until at least 9am.

Transport for London (TfL) said there was disruption to six Underground lines due to debris from the storm on the tracks.

The Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern and Piccadilly lines were all partially closed while workers removed fallen trees and other obstructions, a TfL spokesman said.

The Environment Agency has 141 flood alerts in place across England and Wales, warning people to be prepared, and 17 flood warnings, with 15 in the South West.

Winds of up to 80mph have been reported, while a gust of 99mph was recorded by the Met Office at the Isle of Wight at 5am.

Major roads around the country have been closed, including both Severn crossings and the A249 Sheppey Crossing in Kent.

In central London, Whitehall was closed both ways between Parliament Square and Horse Guards Avenue due to a collapsed crane.