Thousands of homes left without power

Thousands of homes have been left without power as rain and gale-force winds hit the UK overnight.

The Environment Agency has issued 29 flood warnings to alert homeowners in Wales, south-west England and north-west England.

An amber warning of severe gales has been issued by the Met Office and gusts have reached 90mph in some exposed areas.

The BBC has reported that around 1,250 homes in Cumbria and Lancashire and some 1,000 in Northern Ireland are without electricity.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has also issued a number of flood alerts for several areas of Scotland including Orkney, Shetland Dumfries and Galloway.

The gales come after several months of severe storm and flood events that have cost the industry.

It has been estimated that the St Jude’s day storm caused industry losses of £830m while storms in early December saw Zurich’s claims calls increase by 50%.