Searches are under way for a person swept out to sea as Storm Noa wreaked havoc across the UK with 75mph gusts of wind.
A swathe of wintery weather, named Storm Noa by Meteo France, swept across the country on Wednesday – leaving hundreds of properties without power, trees down and causing travel delays in southern England and Wales.
In Brighton, the Coastguard, RNLI and police are carrying out a search and rescue operation for somebody possibly in the water near to the Palace Pier.
The Coastguard helicopter has been seen sweeping the area in the ongoing search.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said: “HM Coastguard’s Newhaven, Littlehampton and Shoreham Coastguard Rescue Teams, alongside Shoreham and Newhaven RNLI all-weather lifeboats, Sussex Police and the Coastguard helicopter from Lee-On-Solent are coordinating a search for a possible person in the water at Brighton Palace Pier, following concerns first raised to emergency services shortly before 4pm.”
In Fareham, Hampshire, a woman has been reported to have been seriously injured after scaffolding fell on to a main shopping street.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service assisted the woman following the incident in West Street at about 1.45pm before she was passed to the care of paramedics, according to the BBC.
At Blackpool Pleasure Beach, customers on the Big One rollercoaster had to be escorted down after the ride was stopped because of the adverse weather.
A spokesperson for Blackpool Pleasure Beach told the Blackpool Gazette: “At 2.50pm on Tuesday, April 11, Blackpool Pleasure Beach stopped the Big One train on the ride’s lift hill due to sudden changes in weather conditions.
“Guests on the ride were reassured and escorted from the ride by Blackpool Pleasure Beach staff.
“Due to high gusts of wind the Big One roller coaster closed for the remainder of the day.”
Rail services including Southern, Thameslink and Great Western Rail have reported delays or cancellations following the poor conditions.
South Western Railway said train services running across the whole of its network may be cancelled or delayed due to high winds, with disruption expected until 10pm.
Major motorways were also closed including two sections of the M4 in Wales as well as the M48 Severn Bridge, where National Highways reported gusts of 68mph.
Coastal areas in the South West were worst hit, with the National Grid reporting in the afternoon that 268 properties in Devon and 43 in Cornwall had been left without power.
A 96mph gust was recorded by the Met Office at The Needles on The Isle of White – the strongest in the UK.
Tom Morgan, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “In addition to the strong winds, we’ve seen heavy showers and thunderstorms relatively widely through England and Wales this afternoon, particularly in south-east England and East Anglia.
“We’ve also seen snow across the higher ground of Wales in the Pennines, and across the Scottish Highlands.”
Wind and rain sweeping through regions have led to rapid drops in temperature, with temperatures falling in Rothamsted, Hertfordshire, by four degrees in the space of an hour.
Scotland also experienced heavy showers, with western areas seeing up to 40mm of rain and other areas getting 20mm.
Temperatures in Scotland remained around 5C but will dip to freezing level overnight, particularly in rural areas in the north of the country.
A yellow warning for wind was lifted in Northern Ireland, though some coastal areas experienced winds of 50mph.
Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon said: “The set up is low pressure dominant both in the South West and in Scotland.
“Overnight tonight and into Thursday, we are expecting these low-pressure systems to combine and move into the North Sea. This will leave behind showers across much of the UK with winds decreasing throughout the day on Thursday.”
Although the weather system is a named storm in France, it is not classed as such by the Met Office.
The first storm to be named by the Met Office, or Irish or Dutch weather services, this season will still be Storm Antoni, in accordance with the 2022/23 name list.