St Jude, the storm that has battered the UK with winds up to 100mph, has left a trail of destruction in its wake as it moves eastwards across the country.

Train companies including Southern Railway, Greater Anglia, First Capital, South-West Trains and London Overground, have all suspended their services over concerns about objects on the tracks.

Southern Railway said: "Network Rail has declared that there is a high risk of trees and debris falling onto railway lines and as a consequence, it may be unsafe to run trains while the winds persist.

"Therefore, Southern and Gatwick Express services will not run ... until it has been declared safe to do so."

The Environment Agency has warned of flash floods in parts of the country. A statement said: "The storm has the potential to cause significant surface water flooding across England, particularly in northern England, and river flooding in parts of south west, central and northern England.

"Seafronts, quaysides, jetties should be avoided due to the risk of overtopping by waves and wind blown shingle."

A 14-year-old boy was swept out to sea in Sussex while playing in the surf with a friend off West Beach in Newhaven. The search for the boy was called off due to the weather conditions but is expected to resume once the storm has passed.

Sussex Police also issued a warning after CCTV footage showed people playing on the seafront during the storm.

Superintendent Grenville Wilson said: "At 3.30am, I was watching people on CCTV on Brighton Beach dancing around at the waves' edge, occasionally being overtaken by the advancing water.

"One slip and they could have found themselves in real danger, along with the people who would try to rescue them.

"We witnessed the tragic power of the sea at Newhaven yesterday and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the young lad who is sadly still missing. I don't want to see that repeated."

He also warned people to remain vigilant until the storm has moved on: "While we know we are going to experience the full severity of the storm for a few more hours yet, the major impact at the moment would appear to be on the county's roads. The Environment Agency has issued 12 coastal flood alerts right along the coast and tell me that there has been more rain than predicted, but as yet we have not seen any significant problems.

"We are now watching to see what the height of the winds will bring and we anticipate that there will be more road disruption caused by fallen trees. Roads are being closed and re-opening all the time, so listen in to your local radio stations for updates on where there are problems on routes you may be planning to use. However, unless your journey really is necessary I would suggest that you try to delay it until at least lunchtime.

"If you're not off to work and are planning to venture out to look at Mother Nature at her mightiest, do look after yourselves."