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Storm Eleanor hammers UK with 100mph winds

Winds of up to 60 miles per hour were experienced in Blackpool Photo: ITV

Storm Eleanor has lashed the UK with violent storm-force winds of up to 100mph, leaving thousands of homes without power and hitting transport links.

Widespread disruption is expected on Wednesday after the storm swept across the country overnight carrying heavy rain, hail and dramatic thunder and lightning.

Several major bridges were closed due to high winds and there were numerous reports of fallen trees blocking roads including the M25.

Overturned vehicles forced closures on the A1M, M6 and M5, where a recovery operation was under way to clear up the contents of a lorry left spilled on the road.

A yellow warning of wind remains active for all of England and Wales, most of Northern Ireland and the Scottish Borders until 6pm on Wednesday after an amber warning was put in place for the early hours.

The Met Office said gusts of 100mph were recorded at Great Dun Fell in Cumbria at 1am, while wind speeds reached 90mph at Orlock Head in Northern Ireland on Tuesday evening.

Meteorologist Becky Mitchell said the risk of more "violent storm-force gusts" had lessened, although wind speeds of between 70mph and 80mph could hit some parts.

"Storm Eleanor has swept through and the eye is now crossing the North Sea, although there will continue to be strong gusts through the day," she said.

"We have seen some heavy showers push through across the south of the UK along with hail, loud thunder and lightning, which has woken people up.

"It is possible there will be quite widespread disruption this morning and it is worth checking before you travel."

Police forces in Cumbria, Suffolk, Norfolk and Humberside were among those to issue warnings that downed trees had blocked routes.

Isle of Man Police said infrastructure staff worked through the night to remove trees from the roads, while there were multiple reports of roofs coming off buildings, flooding and mud debris.

As well as the problems posed by high winds, the Environment Agency has issued 50 flood warnings and 110 flood alerts, with coastal areas under threat from a combination of a high tide and large waves.

In Cheshire the RSPCA was called to a road in Poynton where a swan had taken up residence in a puddle, blocking traffic.