Britain's west coast has been decimated by torrential rain and hurricane force winds which battered the region through the night.

The Met Office issued its highest-level red warning of "exceptionally strong winds" for west Wales and northwest England. It said a gust of 106mph (170kph) was recorded at Aberdaron in northwestern Wales.

The floods have also drenched the south-west, the low-lying Somerset Levels and the Thames Valley west of London, where hundreds of properties have been swamped after the Thames burst its banks.

A total of 850 people have already been rescued in Surrey alone, and around 80,000 homes are still without power.

Although forecasters have suggested the weather may abate slightly on Thursday, 16 flood warnings still remain in place in Berkshire, Surrey and Somerset.

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Storm waves crash over the Longships Lighthouse just off Lands End in CornwallGetty
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Large waves crash over Church Rock as hurricane force winds reach the coastline at Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire, WalesReuters
Traffic makes its way past a building damaged by hurricane force winds on Blackpool PromenadeGetty
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Police officers hold on to their hats as they walk past a programme booth blown over in high winds before Manchester City's English Premier League match against Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium in ManchesterReuters
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Water rises to the windows of a row of terrace houses along the banks of the River Severn in WorcesterGetty
worcester inside
Matt Beesley looks out of the window in his flooded living room that faces onto the River Severn in WorcesterGetty
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A plaque on a wall of The Old Rectifying House in Worcester reads 'On the 12th of February 1795 the flood rose to the lower edge'Getty
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A partially submerged house is reflected in floodwaters in the village of WraysburyAP
Inspector Alan Barnes of the RSPCA water rescue team evacuates a pet cat called Mac from a house in a flooded area next to the river Thames in WraysburyGetty
Swans swim over a football pitch after the Thames flooded WindsorReuters
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Members of the Bill family, carrying groceries, return to their house through a flooded part of Staines-upon-ThamesAP
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A view towards the Three Sisters of Glen Coe in ScotlandGetty
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Red deer forage for food through the snow in Glen Coe, ScotlandGetty
datchet gondola
A couple promote the Piccola Venezia Italian restaurant by rowing their gondola through flood waters in DatchetGetty
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A man ferries a resident by boat through the flooded central square in the village of Datchet in BerkshireReuters