Waves as high as 60 feet that lashed along Britain's shorelines have washed out portions of a 150-year old railway line into the sea. Residents have been advised to brace for more rains and potential flooding into the weekend.
An 80-metre stretch of the Great Western rail was washed out into the sea as the section of the Dawlish sea wall collapsed under the weight of crashing waves. Its ballast and foundations were seen falling into the sea as high mighty waves lapped up against it.
"I can't believe it, I am shell shocked. I feel I have been in a battle zone," 62-year old musician Robert Parker told the Mirror. "I have lived here 14 years and never seen anything like this."
FirstGroup Plc's First Great Western franchise, operator of the 200-km/h express trains on the route, suspended operations beyond Exeter "until further notice."
"We're on site at a number of locations in the southwest of England and are making repairs where the weather conditions permit," Network Rail said on its Web site. "We'll carry out an initial assessment of the damage at Dawlish as soon as the weather subsides to help us identify the extent and scope of repairs required."
On Tuesday, about 44,000 customers had been affected by power cuts, according to the Western Power Distribution. While some has been reconnected, around 953 customers still remained without electricity across the South West, while 490 were still cut off in Cornwall.
Forecasters warned residents to brace for more rains and potential floods into the weekend.
"The unsettled weather will continue over the coming days with heavy rain across the southern half of Britain on Thursday evening into Friday, and that will be quickly followed by another storm moving in early on Saturday," Andy Page, Met Office chief meteorologist, said.
"This will bring the risk of flooding and damaging winds bringing down trees to cause disruption to travel and power networks."
The public could expect 20-30mm of rain throughout the day.