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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 14:32 GMT
Storms batter southern England
See how the storm has hit southern England

Winds of up to 80mph have battered southern England as severe storms move in from the Atlantic.

A tanker with 13 crew on board got into difficulty off the Isle of Wight as the island experienced 70mph gusts.

A tree came down on a house in Lytchett Matravers, near Poole, but there were no reports of any injuries.

Forecasters warned Solent Coastguard to expect more gales up to violent storm force 11. Ferries across the region were affected.

Southsea seafront was closed to traffic and floodgates in Old Portsmouth were shut after a warning of very high tides.

In Dorset, one of the worst-hit areas, police said there had been no major incidents, although fallen trees could cause travel problems.

The hovercraft from Portsmouth to Ryde was suspended, while the Red Jet catamaran service and the Red Funnel vehicle ferry between Southampton and the Isle of Wight were cancelled earlier.

A tree crashed onto a car in Bursledon Green, Hampshire
Unless your journey is absolutely essential I would not travel
Insp Mike Kynaston
Dorset Police

P&O Ferries cancelled its Sunday sailing from Portsmouth to Bilbao, Spain, and the return journey on Tuesday.

The Bramblemet weather station, in the central Solent, measured highest gusts of 48.3 knots, gale force 10.

Hyde Primary School, Fordingbridge, was forced to close due to a loss of heating and power.

Phone lines were brought down in Main Road, Dibden, while power cables came down in Grove Road, Barton on Sea. A tree came down on the A259 in Emsworth.

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said there was the possibility of flooding on the A3.

"We'd like to advise motorists to be extremely aware that they are likely to come across flooding and quite a bit of debris on roads," she said.

The effects of the bad weather were also felt in north Hampshire and Berkshire, where many trees fell on to roads including the A30 and Basing Road, Basingstoke, the A4 in Woolhampton and Newbury, and George Street in Kingsclere.

The Swedish registered Astral under tow

Insp Mike Kynaston, of Dorset Police, warned people to make only "essential" journeys.

"Unless your journey is absolutely essential I would not travel, and if you are travelling do so with extreme caution," he said.

The Environment Agency opened its national incident room, warning of the risk of high waves and flooding in southern England.

The agency is 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.

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