Up to 80mph winds pummel British shores and are expected to continue till Wednesday 11/3/08

Yesterday witnessed the worst storms of the winter, and it was the south coast that bore the brunt. Significant low pressure, combined with spring tides, have led to huge breaking seas and considerable flooding – resulting in yachtsman across the country taking extra precautions.

The Solent Coastguard were warned to expect gales of up to Force 11. They later released that off Hurst Castle, Milford-on-sea, they had recorded wind speeds of 73mph – near hurricane force.

Ferries across the region were affected: the Red Jet Catamaran and Red Funnel crossings were stopped; P&O Ferries cancelled passages; and an 11,000 tonne tanker got into difficulty off the Isle of Wight when its anchor started to drag. The 13-man crewed vessel ended up aground east of the Bembridge Ledge.

The coast guard are urging people to stay away from exposed coastal areas and to check for flood warnings in their area as strong winds, waves and high tides would continue until Wednesday.