Nearly 12,000 homes were without power across Sussex this morning with many hundreds, if not thousands in Mid Sussex alone.
There were no lights on in homes and buildings in the northern parts of Mid Sussex while the B2036 between Balcombe and Crawley was blocked from the Cowdray Arms onwards.
Trees were also blocking the road between Balcombe and Cuckfield and hundreds of homes in Balcombe itself were without power including three nursing and care homes for the elderly.
Homes in Handcross were reported to be without power as well. adding to the nearly 12,000 that UK Power Networks said were cut off this morning.
Roads were difficult to drive on with large areas of deep water across the carriageways and many fields beside them under water.
UK Power Networks said: “The electricity network is built to be resilient, however, high winds blowing debris and trees on to overhead power lines overnight have caused extensive damage - which engineers will be working
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said it had received between 500 and 600 emergency calls between 5pm yesterday (Monday) and 8am this morning with rescue crews mobilised to between 300 and 400 incidents.
The calls were mainly to trees down and flooding.
An officer said: “A lot of people have lost a lot of property just before Christmas including some who have lost their homes through flooding. We have had people trapped in cars this morning.”
UK Power Networks added: “UK Power Networks had robust emergency plans in place to cope with severe weather and
brought in additional staff covering engineer, technical and call centre roles but it has been difficult to enlist help from contractors, other electricity companies across the country who have their own repairs to do, and some of our own staff who are away for Christmas.
“People are being urged to report any power cut or damaged power lines; in the east of England this number is: 0800 783 8838 (East) 0800 7838866 (South East).
“You can also see updates on our website and follow us on twitter. Anyone who spots a damaged power line should stay well clear and please report it on the relevant number above.
“Since Storm St Jude in October/November the company has already identified extra advisors in back office departments who can take calls and help customers with info. #
“It has also been working with councils to find vulnerable customers for our Priority Services Register and so we can get extra help to customers who rely on power for medical needs.
“We invest in a partnership arrangement with the British Red Cross and can activate their volunteers to support vulnerable customers if power is affected.
“UK Power Networks is planning to help customers who have lost power, with Christmas Day dinners. It is appealing for any restaurants or pubs in the East of England and South East who have spare tables on Christmas Day, to email SDCSupportContact@ukpowernnetworks.co.uk”