Millions of commuters were facing epic Monday morning chaos as a super-storm battered southern England overnight. Few trains were expected to be moving before 10am.
Driving rains and high winds lashed the UK on Sunday evening, as officials warned that what forecasters are calling one of the worst storms in years will cause widespread disruption for early morning commuters.
Authorities said a 14-year-old boy is feared dead after being swept out to sea while apparently playing in the surf in southern England. Coastguard and police rescuers searched for the boy in high seas with poor visibility, but after several hours the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it had turned into a search and recovery operation.
Sussex Police urged people to stay clear of the seashore until the storm - dubbed St. Jude and #Stormageddon on social networks - abates.
Winds picked up throughout the night, hitting 99mph on the Isle of Wight, as railways and airports cancelled many services pre-emptively amid warnings over treacherous road conditions and the risks of debris from falling trees and flooding.
Prime Minister David Cameron told government agencies to ensure that contingency plans were in place for transportation, schools and power supplies during the storm, which could have gusts stronger than 80 mph (128 kph) - akin to those in hurricanes, which Britain does not get due to its geographic location.
Heathrow Airport canceled at least 130 flights ahead of the storm's arrival in full force, warning travelers to be prepared for disruptions. Rail networks canceled many trains preemptively up through Monday morning, citing the high risk of trees and other debris expected to fall on train lines.
Eurostar said it would not be able to run any cross-Channel rail services until 7am on Monday to allow for train lines to be inspected.
Martin Young, the Met Office's chief forecaster, said that while the storm is "major" for the UK, its winds are not expected to be as strong as those 'the Great Storm' of 1987, which saw gusts of 115mph (185kph) and left 18 people dead.
The storm is expected to move across the country and head out over the North Sea by Monday afternoon.
Once the so-called St. Jude storm - named after the patron saint of lost causes - passes through Britain, it is expected to hit parts of the Nordic countries on Monday afternoon.
The Danish Meteorological Institute issued a warning, saying winds of hurricane-strength are expected in some parts of Denmark and heightened water levels in western Jutland near the town Esbjerg.
The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute also issued a warning, saying it expects hurricane-strength winds to hit southern and western Sweden on Monday evening, potentially causing damage and travel disruptions. It said the stormy weather is expected to subside as it moves north on Tuesday and Wednesday.