TWO people were taken to hospital after their car was struck by a fallen tree in Hampshire today.

It happened as storm Eleanor battered the county, bringing down trees and leaving homes without power.

Emergency services were called to the A35 in the early hours of this morning when a car was struck by a tree.

Police, fire and ambulance staff were alerted at about 3am to the incident near the Cat and Fiddle pub on the Hampshire and Dorset border.

Two people were taken to hospital and one person was arrested on suspicion of drug driving.

Drivers using the A272 between Winchester and Petersfield were being affected this morning after a fallen tree blocked the road at New Cheriton, although it has been announced that the road has reopened.

Red Jet services have between Southampton and Cowes have been suspended due to the winds.

The incidents happened as thousands of homes have been left without power as Storm Eleanor hit Britain with winds of up to 80mph.

Forecasters warned lives could be at risk from flying debris as the fifth-named storm of the season arrived on Tuesday evening.

An amber weather warning was issued for southern parts of Northern Ireland and northern England as well as southern fringes of Scotland overnight.

Around 22,000 houses in Northern Ireland and scores more in England were affected by power cuts.

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks said it restored supply to 10,000 properties but another 12,000 would be without power overnight.

A spokesman said: "It's very difficult to make repairs because we have to think about the safety of our employees, most repairs will start at first light."

A number of roads were closed due to fallen trees and motorists were warned to avoid all but essential travel.

In England nearly 2,000 homes were hit by power cuts in the Midlands, as well as around 700 in the South West and 460 in Wales.

The Environment Agency issued 65 flood warnings and dozens of alerts across the country.

The Dartford Crossing bridge was closed overnight on Tuesday due to the dangerous wind speeds and is due to reopen in time for morning rush hour.

Vince Crane, of the AA, advised drivers to take extra care in the worsening conditions.

He said: "Road conditions can quickly deteriorate during very heavy rainfall, with drains becoming swamped or blocked and standing water causing surface spray, reduced visibility and potentially leading to flooding.

"Drivers will need to take extra care and expect delays, even on motorways.

"Strong or sudden gusts of wind are more likely on open stretches of road, when passing bridges or gaps in hedges, or when overtaking high-sided vehicles."

A yellow weather warning covering Wales, England, most of Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland was in place overnight to Wednesday.

There will be a risk of "injuries and danger to life" from flying debris and large waves along the western coast, the Met Office said.

Meteorologist Emma Sharples said: "There is likely to be some disruption possibly to public transport, bridges and other public services such as mobile phones and people need to be aware that there could be debris as well."

In Wales, people have been advised to keep a safe distance from the sea as Natural Resources Wales (NRW) issued a series of flood warnings for the south-east, south-west and north coasts.

Ceri Jones, from NRW, said: "Large waves could overtop defences and throw up debris - this could easily cause injury or knock you off your feet."

Pembrokeshire County Council also issued a warning for several areas, including Amroth and Newgale, where overtopping waves could cause disruption.