The winds, which have reached speeds of 142mph, left a lorry driver dead after his vehicle was blown on top of two cars on the A801 near Bathgate, West Lothian, with four others injured in the accident.

The Thames Barrier will be closed from 10pm tonight to protect London from a combined tidal surge and high tide in the Thames estuary, and homes in Norfolk and Essex are being evacuated after officials warned lives could be at risk from the worst tidal surge for more than 60 years.

Motorists have also been warned not to travel due to ‘extremely dangerous’ conditions on the roads and Scotland’s entire rail network has been closed.

Scotland and Northern parts of England are being lashed the hardest, by gales of 60-80mph. And the strongest gusts have been recorded on the slopes of Aonach Mor, where the Met Office said winds have reached speeds of 142mph.

In the Scottish Highlands, 100,000 homes have been left without power. Energy companies say they are working to restore power as quickly as possible.

In England and Wales, a total of 28 severe flood warnings – meaning there is a danger to life – have been issued by the Environment Agency, 24 of them for the Anglian region.

For the latest updates from the Met Office, please click here.