Travellers endured pre-Christmas misery today, with a holiday airport bearing the brunt of passengers' festive fury.
There were no train services to or from Gatwick airport in West Sussex following a night of widespread storms that caused chaos on roads and rail and left 150,000 homes without power.
Then when passengers finally reached Gatwick they found that a power outage at the airport's North Terminal had led to flight cancellations and long delays.
Passengers complained of a lack of information and then of inaudible announcements and luggage problems.
By late morning some train services were operating to and from Gatwick as conditions eased. But Scotland and Northern Ireland were warned to expect high winds.
And although Christmas Day was expected to be clear of storms, the bad weather was forecast to build up again, with storms expected on Friday.
A number of train companies were unable to run any early-morning trains and when services did eventually start they were subject to delays and cancellations.
Rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group said that the s trong winds had damaged overhead wires and brought down more than 80 trees on to lines. In addition some parts of the network had been flooded overnight.
NR added that more than 200 trees had come down on lines during the last 24 hours and there had been "a further 100 major incidents discovered on top of that".
The company's network operations manager, Robin Gisby, said: "Our attention will now turn to our extensive programme of engineering work over the holiday period.
"We will be assessing the extent to which this latest storm has put any of our deadlines at risk and together with the train operators we will be advising passengers accordingly."
Gatwick announced that for the rest of the day all its departing flights would be leaving from its South Terminal.
Passengers at Gatwick complained of a lack of information and spoke of four-hour delays.
Graziella Vella, a six-months-pregnant make-up artist from Kilburn in 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."
Meanwhile, a fire near railway lines at Croydon in south London caused extensive damage to rail infrastructure, with trains unable to run between London and East Croydon.
People travelling 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.
Passengers described delays after leaving London before the service was terminated at Taunton with First Great Western then having to put people on buses and taxis to get them to their destination.
Steven Rowe, who was 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.
On the roads, many major routes were flooded or blocked by fallen trees, with Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Cornwall among the affected counties.
In Dorset fire crews had to rescue 25 people trapped in their cars by flood water. The storms have so far claimed four lives and t he Environment Agency has issued scores of flood warnings across all of England and Wales.
A man's body was pulled from the River Rothesay in Ambleside in Cumbria, while a woman died in a river in Gwynedd, North Wales.
A woman was killed in a car accident in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, last night and a man died in a multiple-collision crash near Bodmin in Cornwall on Sunday night.
The Energy Networks Association, which represents power companies across the UK, said the worst-affected areas for power problems were Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
Meanwhile a man has been airlifted to hospital with "potentially life threatening" injuries after being rescued from a fast-flowing river.
The man, believed to be in his 40s, was seen in difficulty in the River Lemon in Newton Abbot, Devon.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed: "A number of 999 calls were made by members of the public around 11.15am after the man appeared to have got into difficulty in the fast-flowing water near to the Asda store."
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust added: "The casualty was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital by air ambulance and his injuries are serious. It is looking like they could be life threatening."
And a body has been found in a stream in Horton, Telford, Shropshire. Police said it was not known how long the body had been in the water or whether the death was related to the recent weather conditions.