Storm Aurore lashes UK as cars abandoned in floods and mini tornado wreaks havoc

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Storm Aurore made its way across from France last night, bringing 45mph winds and several centimetres of rain that hit London, Essex, Sussex and Kent particularly badly overnight

Motorists had to be evacuated from their cars after lashing rains caused parts of England to flood overnight.

An elderly man was photographed being led from his stranded vehicle which got stuck in a foot of water in Southend, Essex.

The town had already endured a miserable day of weather on Wednesday, with overwhelmed drains pumping raw sewage out onto the sea front.

Across the county more than 120 people had called the fire service for emergency help with flood related incidents before 2.30am.

In Sussex the M23 was shut between junction 10 and 11 following a serious crash, leaving emergency services needing to clear water and debris.

Earlier on Wednesday a suspected mini tornado caused havoc in Widnes, Cheshire with garden walls, bins and ornaments flung onto the main road.

Late last night residents of Ferring in West Sussex took to social media to claim they have also been struck by a tornado.

One person said: “I’m in Ferring, I was in my daughter’s room at the time and we heard a bang and the windows shook and both wondered what on earth has happened.”

They were left balancing on the top of the vehicle that was stuck in four feet of fast flowing water at St Kew, Cornwall.

Police were first on the scene just before 8.15pm and then called in Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.

Crews from Wadebridge and Delabole were sent along with water rescue units from St Austell and Bude, supported by an Area manager and group manager.

Londoners complained of “terrifying” journeys home on Wednesday night.

One person tweeted: “The rain tonight coming back from London was the worst I’ve seen in a long time. Loads of deep flooding from Hammersmith through to the M3.”

Another wrote: “Terrifying drive home from West London to Rochester, Medway. Torrential rain all the way with flooding and stranded vehicles along the route. Still raining…”

People across the south of the country woke up to tumultuous scenes of flooding this morning after a storm moving in from France brought with it strong winds and heavy rains.

Storm Aurore was expected to dump 50mm of rain and blow 45mph winds in the worst affected areas.

The Met Office issued a yellow rain warning covering most of southern England for Wednesday night and into Thursday, meaning people living there could see transport delays, flooding and power issues.

The Met Office issued yellow rain warnings for the southern counties and Channel Islands until 3am on Thursday, but said the most severe impact of the storm would be over northern France.

It added the unsettled weather was likely to continue for the rest of the week, with showers and breezy conditions across western Scotland and some areas of central and northern England and Wales on Friday.

Forecasters predict there to be more persistent rain over the weekend, with the heaviest rain expected in western Scotland, where 40-60mm could fall in 24 hours.

Northern Ireland, northern England and Wales, could see up to 20mm of rain, while southern and central areas will see light rain.