Residents faced Christmas in flooded homes and without power after storms caused havoc across much of Britain. The death toll from the violent weather rose to five and people heading home for the holiday had to battle with difficult conditions on roads and railways.

Some of the worst chaos was at Gatwick airport in West Sussex where a power outage at North Terminal led to cancellations and delays. Although Christmas Day is expected to see calmer weather, more storms are expected on Friday. Tens of thousands of households were without power after Monday's downpours and strong winds.

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Passengers wait at Waterloo Station, London, following a night of widespread storms

Southern Electric restored power to 40,000 homes, but 70,000 remained without. Spokeswoman Morven Smith said it had been a "very difficult" Christmas Eve, telling BBC Radio 4's World at One: "We have a significant amount of damage in the West Sussex, south Hampshire and Dorset areas, so we are focusing our attention in those areas to get as many properties and customers back with their power today.

"Realistically, it may be that we do have some customers without power on Christmas Day and for that we apologise. For all customers who've been without power at any time of year, it's not great, but at this particular time of year it's not what people want."

A man whose body was pulled from the fast-flowing River Rothesay in Ambleside, Cumbria yesterday was named as Simon Martindale, 48, of Hest Bank, Lancaster. Shortly before, he was seen walking his dog nearby. A woman died in a river in Gwynedd, North Wales, yesterday, another was killed in a car accident in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, last night and a man died in a crash near Bodmin, Cornwall on Sunday night.

uk weather

Cropthorne Mill is surrounded by floodwater from the River Avon in Fladbury, Worcestershire

A man died after being taken to hospital with serious injuries after he jumped into a fast-flowing river to rescue his dog. Witnesses saw the 46-year-old being swept away after he leapt into the River Lemon in Newton Abbot, Devon, at 11.15am today. The dog managed to escape from the water unharmed.

A number of train companies were unable to run early-morning services and when they did start they were subject to delays and cancellations. Network Rail said more than 200 trees had come down on lines in the last 24 hours. Gatwick said for the rest of the day all flights would be leaving from South Terminal. Passengers complained of a lack of information and spoke of four-hour delays.

Graziella Vella, from Kilburn, north-west London, was due to fly to Malta to spend Christmas with her family. The 37-year-old said: "I am fuming and absolutely desperate - there has been no information at all and we can't make alternative plans." An airport spokesman said the cause of the outages was flooding from the River Mole into airfield substations and North Terminal and efforts were being made to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

uk weather

Flooding in Mallards Way, Maidstone, Kent

Travellers on First Great Western's service from London Paddington to Devon and Cornwall last night were left stranded at Taunton in Somerset shortly before 1am because of flooding and signal problems. Steven Rowe, travelling from London to Plymouth, said he was left at Taunton from 12.50am until 7.30am when he was put on a coach to Exeter.

First Great Western spokesman Dan Payne told World at One: "The significant problem was flooding outside Taunton station last night and into the early hours of this morning. That meant there was no viable path through for our trains at that time. We were able to move some of our customers on by road to their destinations but because of the poor weather and the state of the roads in Devon and Cornwall at that time there weren't any of the normal operators that we would use to bus or coach or taxi people down into Devon and Cornwall."

On the roads, many major routes were flooded or blocked, with Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Cornwall among affected counties. In Dorset fire crews had to rescue 25 people trapped in their cars by flood water. More than 300 flood alerts and warnings remained in place. The number of warnings - the category the Environment Agency uses to alert residents that "immediate action is required" - has jumped to 125 across the UK.

There are also 243 flood alerts, which indicate "flooding is possible, be prepared". The most severely affected areas remain the south west and south east, where there is one "severe flood warning". This is for the River Mole at Leatherhead and Fetcham, Surrey, where flooding at around midnight tonight could pose a threat to life.

uk weather

Swans swim through floodwater around the River Severn in Worcester

Meanwhile, the A303 in Somerset is closed in both directions near Yeovil between the A37/A372 at Podimore and the A3088 at Tintinhull due to flooding. The Highways Agency, Avon and Somerset Police and Somerset County Council are working to re-open the route as soon as it is safe to do so.

"Traffic travelling from Devon and Cornwall towards London is advised to use the M5 northbound and M4 eastbound," a Highways Agency spokesman said. "Road users travelling from London and the South East are advised to use the M4 westbound and M5 southbound."

Network Rail said this evening that most passengers had completed their journeys. Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations, said: "Our stations are quieter now with most passengers safely on their way home. "We thank people for their patience as our engineers have battled extreme conditions over the past 24 hours clearing scores of line blockages and over 200 trees to restore services and get people on the move again and home for Christmas. We will continue to repair the damage caused by the storm, damage that has been even more extensive than that suffered during the St Jude's storm."
He warned that planned improvement work may also be delayed. More time may be needed to complete the programme and we will release more details once we have looked more closely at the schedule."

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which speaks on behalf of rail operators, said: "We apologise to passengers whose journeys to join family and friends over the festive period have been affected by the bad weather yesterday and today." Fire crews have rescued one adult and three children from a car stuck in floodwater in Podimore, Yeovil in Somerset. Two fire appliances and the rescue tender as well as the specialist rescue team from Bridgwater attended Church Street at 5.31pm.

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: "Fire crews rescued one adult and three children by leading them to safety using inflatable powered boat and dry suits. Fire crews left the incident in the hands of Police."

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  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten The Festive Getaway

    DORKING, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 24: A vehicle is abandoned in rising floodwater from the River Mole at the Burford Bridge Hotel on December 24, 2013 near Dorking, England. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten The Festive Getaway

    DORKING, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 24: A man wades through rising floodwater from the River Mole outside the Burford Bridge Hotel on December 24, 2013 near Dorking, England. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Floods And Weather Disruption Continue Into Christmas

    TOVIL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 25: A man standing on a boat lifted high by floodwater gestures on December 25, 2013 in Tovil, United Kingdom. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

  • Floods And Weather Disruption Continue Into Christmas

    TOVIL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 25: An abandoned vehicle lies in floodwater on December 25, 2013 in Tovil, United Kingdom. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

  • Floods And Weather Disruption Continue Into Christmas

    TOVIL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 25: People look at a road submerged under floodwater on December 25, 2013 in Tovil, United Kingdom. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

  • Floods And Weather Disruption Continue Into Christmas

    TOVIL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 25: An abandoned vehicle lies in floodwater on December 25, 2013 in Tovil, United Kingdom. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

  • Floods And Weather Disruption Continue Into Christmas

    TOVIL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 25: An abandoned vehicle lies in floodwater on December 25, 2013 in Tovil, United Kingdom. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

  • A plane sits in flood water by submerged warning signs following heavy rain, at Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey, England, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Parsons, PA Wire) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES

  • Christmas Eve after heavy storms hit the UK. In the Wiltshire hillside town of Malmesbury, the river Avon bursts it's banks, and a torrent of floodwater races across the already saturated floodplain. This time last year Malmesbury endured severe flooding making the national news. © Terry Mathews/Alamy Live News

  • Supermarket car park in Hookwood, Surrey. 24 Dec 2013 after the floods. This is an Alamy Live News image and may not be part of your current Alamy deal . If you are unsure, please contact our sales team to check.

  • The giant snowglobe in Picadilly Circus popped in last night's storm. The wind was so strong it burst the snowglobe, sending fake snow all over the place.

  • lucky_escape_christmas_eve_storm_exclusive_bridger_and_jules1886

    Pictures show a van trapped under a fallen tree in East Sussex. One driver had a very luck escape as the Christmas Eve winds battered the British countryside.

  • Pictures show a van trapped under a fallen tree in East Sussex. One driver had a very luck escape as the Christmas Eve winds battered the British countryside.

  • Pictures show storm damage at the Kingsway Hotel in Worthing, West Sussex, England

  • Reigate, Surrey, UK. 24th December 2013. UK Weather Tuesday 24 December 2013. Flooding in Reigate Surrey © Photo by Lindsay Constable/Alamy Live News This is an Alamy Live News image and may not be part of your current Alamy deal . If you are unsure, please contact our sales team to check.

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten The Festive Getaway

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 24: Passengers' hold luggage is stacked in the departure hall of Gatwick airport's North Terminal as severe weather has caused delays and cancellations to numerous flights from the airport on December 24, 2013 in London, England. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Reigate, Surrey, UK. 24th December 2013. UK Weather Tuesday 24 December 2013. Flooding in Reigate Surrey © Photo by Lindsay Constable/Alamy Live News This is an Alamy Live News image and may not be part of your current Alamy deal . If you are unsure, please contact our sales team to check.

  • Passengers wait underneath blank departure screens following a power outage at the North Terminal of London Gatwick Airport in Horley, England, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. A severe winter storm has caused major travel problems in Britain, leading to substantial delays Tuesday at London Gatwick Airport and on roads and rail lines at the height of the Christmas travel period. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • Passengers wait underneath blank departure screens following a power outage at the North Terminal of London Gatwick Airport in Horley, England, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. A severe winter storm has caused major travel problems in Britain, leading to substantial delays Tuesday at London Gatwick Airport and on roads and rail lines at the height of the Christmas travel period. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • Luggage belonging to passengers piles up following a power outage at the North Terminal of London Gatwick Airport in Horley, England, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. A severe winter storm has caused major travel problems in Britain, leading to substantial delays Tuesday at London Gatwick Airport and on roads and rail lines at the height of the Christmas travel period. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten The Festive Getaway

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 24: A woman sits on her bag as she waits for a train in Waterloo Station as severe weather has caused delays and cancellations to numerous UK rail services on December 24, 2013 in London, England. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Passengers wait underneath blank departure screens following a power outage at the North Terminal of London Gatwick Airport in Horley, England, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. A severe winter storm has caused major travel problems in Britain, leading to substantial delays Tuesday at London Gatwick Airport and on roads and rail lines at the height of the Christmas travel period. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • Luggage belonging to passengers piles up following a power outage at the North Terminal of London Gatwick Airport in Horley, England, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. A severe winter storm has caused major travel problems in Britain, leading to substantial delays Tuesday at London Gatwick Airport and on roads and rail lines at the height of the Christmas travel period. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • Passengers wait underneath blank departure screens following a power outage at the North Terminal of London Gatwick Airport in Horley, England, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. A severe winter storm has caused major travel problems in Britain, leading to substantial delays Tuesday at London Gatwick Airport and on roads and rail lines at the height of the Christmas travel period. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • A car sits abandon on a flooded road in Croydon, south London, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. A severe winter storm has caused major travel problems in Britain. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • Storms battering the seafront at Brighton

  • Giant waves hit the Lighthouse in Porthcawl

  • Security staff stand in the "snow" from the globe whilst protecting the Eros statue snow globe in Piccadilly Circus, after it was damaged by high winds and heavy rain.

  • Bad Weather in Yealmpton, Plymouth, Britain The river Yealm starts to over flow and floods into Ford Road from heavy rain fall

  • Winter weather Dec 23

    High winds in London today resulted in the bubble placed around the Statue of Eros in London's Piccadilly Circus to collapse EDITORS NOTE: This picture was taken on an iPhone

  • Winter weather Dec 23

    Shoppers brave the wet and windy weather on London's Oxford Street this afternoon to grab some last minute Christmas bargains.

  • Winter weather Dec 23

    High winds in London today resulted in the bubble placed around the Statue of Eros in London's Piccadilly Circus to collapse EDITORS NOTE: This picture was taken on an iPhone

  • Winter weather Dec 23

    High winds in London today resulted in the bubble placed around the Statue of Eros in London's Piccadilly Circus to collapse EDITORS NOTE: This picture was taken on an iPhone

  • Winter weather Dec 23

    A plane takes off at Heathrow Airport as wind and rain hits UK.

  • Winter weather Dec 23

    A plane takes off at Heathrow Airport as wind and rain hits UK.

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: Office workers, in fancy dress celebrating Christmas, battle against the rain and gale force winds on Blackpool promenade on December 23, 2013 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: Office workers, in fancy dress celebrating Christmas, battle against the rain and gale force winds on Blackpool promenade on December 23, 2013 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: Shoppers dash for sheler in a bus stop as they brave gale force winds on December 23, 2013 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: Office workers, in fancy dress celebrating Christmas, battle against the rain and gale force winds on Blackpool promenade on December 23, 2013 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: Shoppers brave gale force winds as they do last minute shopping on December 23, 2013 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: Shoppers brave gale force winds as they do last minute shopping on December 23, 2013 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Passengers wait for trains in Kings Cross Station on December 23, 2013 in London, England. With two days until Christmas day, heavy rain and strong winds are affecting much of Southern England with numerous Met office weather warnings in place. Road, rail and ferry routes have been affected by the weather with gusts of wind and flooding anticipated in some areas. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: Members of the public use the London Underground in Kings Cross Station on December 23, 2013 in London, England. With two days until Christmas day, heavy rain and strong winds are affecting much of southern England with numerous Met office weather warnings in place. Road, rail and ferry routes have been affected by the weather with gusts of wind and flooding anticipated in some areas. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: A station employee stands with a drink and a hawk to deter pigeons in Kings Cross Station on December 23, 2013 in London, England. With two days until Christmas day, heavy rain and strong winds are affecting much of southern England with numerous Met office weather warnings in place. Road, rail and ferry routes have been affected by the weather with gusts of wind and flooding anticipated in some areas. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten Festive Getaway

    LYME REGIS, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: Storm waves break on the sea wall behind buildings on the Cobb as people walk on the beach on December 23, 2013 in Lyme Regis, England. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: A man struggles with an umbrella in strong winds on a footbridge crossing the River Thames on December 23, 2013 in London, England. With two days until Christmas day, heavy rain and strong winds are affecting much of southern England with numerous Met office weather warnings in place. Road, rail and ferry routes have been affected by the weather with gusts of wind and flooding anticipated in some areas. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threatens Festive Getaway

    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: The Arrivals board displays train cancellations in Kings Cross Station on December 23, 2013 in London, England. With two days until Christmas day, heavy rain and strong winds are affecting much of southern England with numerous Met office weather warnings in place. Road, rail and ferry routes have been affected by the weather with gusts of wind and flooding anticipated in some areas. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten Festive Getaway

    LYME REGIS, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: A man braves the stormy weather and walks besides beach huts overlooking the beach on December 23, 2013 in Lyme Regis, England. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten Festive Getaway

    LYME REGIS, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: Storm waves break on the beach on December 23, 2013 in Lyme Regis, England. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten Festive Getaway

    LYME REGIS, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: People brave the stormy weather as they walk besides beach huts overlooking the sea on December 23, 2013 in Lyme Regis, England. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten Festive Getaway

    LYME REGIS, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23: A couple braves the stormy weather and walk on the beach on December 23, 2013 in Lyme Regis, England. The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds and is warning that it may lead to some travel disruption as people make their journeys for Christmas. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)