Fierce storms forecast to bring 80mph winds

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Britain has been warned to batten down the hatches today after forecasters predicted "the first storms of the season", with fierce winds and flooding in some areas.

Heavy rain and severe gales are expected in southern England and Wales this morning and wind speed could reach up to 80 miles per hour on the southern coast. The Environment Agency said there were 85 flood watches and 20 flood warnings in place around the country last night. The only severe flood warning was in place in Christchurch Harbour, in Dorset.

Brittany Ferries said it had cancelled sailings from Plymouth to Roscoff and Poole to Cherbourg, while delays of up to an hour are expected on all Dover services. Yesterday, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, flooding forced Bennett Memorial Diocesan School to close, while in Cornwall, gales brought down trees and some areas were 2ft deep in water.

This afternoon the weather is predicted to become calmer, and on Sunday there will be a few showers and lighter winds.

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