The Met Office has issued a red weather warning - the most severe level of threat - for "exceptionally strong winds" of up to 100mph in western parts of Wales and some north-western parts of England tonight.

Winds of 80mph are expected widely in those areas and gusts could reach up to 100mph in the most exposed locations, potentially hitting power supplies, bringing down trees and causing widespread damage.

In addition, large waves could affect some coastal areas.

weather map

A storm bringing winds of up to 100mph is set to hit the UK

flooding aerial

Water surrounds flooded properties in the village of Moorland Somerset.

The latest bad weather warnings come as a government minister warned there was no "blank cheque" to pay for repairing the damage of weeks of storm and floods that have affected parts of the country.

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The Met Office has also forecast 70mm (2.75 inches) of rain by Friday in the already sodden West Country - more than the region would normally get in the whole of February - with south Wales, western Scotland, Northern Ireland and other parts of southern England also expected to bear the brunt of the deluge.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who chaired a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergencies committee in 10 Downing Street on Wednesday morning, promised yesterday that "money is no object" in offering relief to those affected by the floods.

flooding fire

Fire and Rescue crew help evacuate residents from flood-affected homes near the river Thames.

But Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin indicated that there would be "careful consideration" before money is spent on the larger rebuilding exercise of restoring damaged infrastructure after water levels recede.

"I don't think it's a blank cheque," Mr McLoughlin told ITV1's Daybreak. "I think what the Prime Minister was making very clear is that we are going to use every resource of the Government and money is not the issue while we are in this relief job, in the first instance, of trying to bring relief to those communities that are affected.

"Then we have got to do the repairs of the structures and the railway infrastructure that's been damaged and then the other long-term issues, which will need some careful consideration."

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Resident Kellie Evans makes her to work through flood water in Wraysbury.

At the Cobra meeting, Environment Agency chief executive Paul Leinster told the Prime Minister that flooding could reach levels last seen in 1947 in some parts of the UK, though he said improvements in defences since that point meant that fewer homes were expected to be inundated.

"Oxford to Maidenhead we think could rise over the next five days and may lead to more flooding in that area," Mr Leinster told the committee.

"Below Maidenhead, the levels are holding at the current level but potentially over the weekend and going into the beginning of next week they could rise to higher than the current levels."

Major General Patrick Sanders, who is coordinating the military response, told the meeting that around 2,000 military personnel are involved in the clean-up operation and support in Somerset was increased overnight.

Cameron has cancelled a planned trip to the Middle East to take personal charge of the response to the flooding crisis.

Tomorrow he will chair the first meeting of a new Cabinet committee set up to oversee the recovery effort.

"Money is no object in this relief effort. Whatever money is needed for it will be spent," he said.

Sixteen severe flood warnings - indicating a danger to life - remained in place in Berkshire, Surrey and Somerset on Wednesday, with a further 122 flood warnings and 225 flood alerts. There were warnings that high winds could bring down trees and cause disruption to transport and power supplies.

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Homes and transport have been hit by the bad weather

Residents in Staines, Surrey, were evacuated from their flood-hit homes during the night, while around 1,000 homes in the Thameside village of Datchet were left without electricity during the night after power cuts which initially affected 1,700 properties.

About 100 properties remain flooded on the Somerset Levels, where extra pumps are being brought in from the Netherlands, and groundwater flooding is also expected in the coming days in Hampshire, Kent and parts of London. The Thames barrier closed again yesterday to protect communities to the west of the capital.

Since the beginning of December, a total of 5,800 premises have flooded - although the Environment Agency also stressed that 1.3 million have been protected by defences.

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  • Workers build flood defences.

  • This entire property is submerged.

  • The waters engulf the village of Moorland.

  • West Yeo Farm and Newhouse Farm.

  • Devastated farmland.

  • Water surrounds flooded propeties in the village of Moorland.

  • Another shot of West Yeo Farm and Newhouse Farm.

  • The village of Moorland.

  • The village of Moorland.

  • The village of Moorland.

  • The village of Moorland.

  • The village of Moorland.

  • The village of Moorland.

  • The village of Moorland.

  • Workers continue to build flood defences around a house.

  • Flood water surrounds the main railway line.

  • The village of Moorland.

  • Another view of Moorland.

  • The village of Muchelney.

  • Another devastated farmhouse.

  • The village of Muchelney.

  • Flood water covers the road to the village of Muchelney.

  • Flood water surrounds a farm on the road to the village of Muchelney.

  • A car is left parked on a flooded road on the Somerset Levels.

  • Flood water surrounds Horsey Farm close to the village of Muchelney.

  • Submerged Somerset farmland.

  • Flood water continues to cover farmland.

  • Winter weather Feb 10th

    A postman delivers letters in Bridge near Canterbury, Kent, as river levels continue to rise in the area. Picture date: Monday February 10, 2014. See PA story WEATHER Floods. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

  • Winter weather Feb 10th

    Floodwater surrounds an oast house in Littlebourne, Kent, as river levels continue to rise in the area.

  • Winter weather Feb 11th

    Labour leader Ed Miliband (right) and Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Reading West, Victoria Groulef (left), speak with a local resident during a visit to the view recent flooding in Purley on Thames in Berkshire.

  • Winter weather Feb 11th

    Labour leader Ed Miliband (right) and Victoria Groulef (centre), Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Reading West, during a visit to the view recent flooding in Purley on Thames in Berkshire.

  • Winter weather Feb 11th

    Residents brave the flood water in Purley on Thames as they walk along a flooded street.

  • Winter weather Feb 11th

    Volunteers help residents brave the flood water in Purley on Thames.

  • Winter weather Feb 11th

    Volunteers help residents brave the flood water in Purley on Thames.

  • Winter weather Feb 11th

    A local volunteer helps ferry local residents of Purley on Thames up a flooded street.

  • Winter weather Feb 11th

    A flooded street in Purley on Thames.

  • Winter weather Feb 9th

    Ukip leader Nigel Farage looking at the floodwater in Burrowbridge, Somerset.

  • Winter weather Feb 9th

    Water is pumped away from the Kenley Water Treatment works in Croydon down Godstone Road towards the Purley Cross underpass in a bid to save local homes and businesses from the threat of flooding.

  • Winter weather Feb 4th

    A car in flood water in Cork city.

  • Cameron visits flood affected areas

    Prime Minister David Cameron with Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (right) during a visit to Goodings Farm in Fordgate, Somerset.

  • Winter weather Feb 1st

    The river Avon in Bristol, floods surrounding roads.

  • Winter weather Feb 4th

    A woman walks through flood water in Cork city.

  • Winter weather Feb 9th

    A car in the floodwater at Burrowbridge, Somerset.

  • Winter weather Feb 10th

    A postman delivers letters in Bridge near Canterbury, Kent, as river levels continue to rise in the area. Picture date: Monday February 10, 2014.

  • Winter weather Feb 10th

    A warning sign sits in water in a flood storage reservoir near Ashford, Kent, as river levels continue to rise in the area.

  • Winter weather Jan 2nd

    Residents Ian Peacock and Caroline Hine leave the Little Venice Caravan Park in Yalding, Kent, as flood waters return to the site after recent bad weather.

  • Winter weather Jan 31st

    The river Thames in Twickenham, west London floods surrounding roads.

  • Aerial Views Show The Extent Of The Flooding On The Somerset Levels

    BRIDGWATER, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 10: Flood water continues to cover farmland on the Somerset Levels near Bridgwater on February 10, 2014 in Somerset, England. Thousands of acres of the Somerset Levels have been under water for weeks, yet flood levels are still rising and worryingly, more rain is forecast for later this week. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Aerial Views Show The Extent Of The Flooding On The Somerset Levels

    BRIDGWATER, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 10: Flood water continues to cover farmland on the Somerset Levels near Bridgwater on February 10, 2014 in Somerset, England. Thousands of acres of the Somerset Levels have been under water for weeks, yet flood levels are still rising and worryingly, more rain is forecast for later this week. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Aerial Views Show The Extent Of The Flooding On The Somerset Levels

    BRIDGWATER, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 10: Flood water surrounds the village of Muchelney on the Somerset Levels near Langport on February 10, 2014 in Somerset, England. Thousands of acres of the Somerset Levels have been under water for weeks, yet flood levels are still rising and worryingly, more rain is forecast for later this week. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Aerial Views Show The Extent Of The Flooding On The Somerset Levels

    BRIDGWATER, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 10: Flood water continues to cover farmland close to James Winslade's West Yeo Farm and Newhouse Farm in Moorland on the Somerset Levels near Bridgwater on February 10, 2014 in Somerset, England. Thousands of acres of the Somerset Levels have been under water for weeks, yet flood levels are still rising and worryingly, more rain is forecast for later this week. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)