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Flood defences go up amid fears of Storm Brian's 70mph barrage with heavy rain

Sandbags are placed at a flood defence barrier as Britain prepares for Storm Brian to cause chaos.

The Environment Agency put up metal barricades in Fowey, Cornwall, ahead of the battering – with widespread heavy rain and 70mph gusts likely in exposed areas.

This is the first time the barriers – previously used to protect cities from burst rivers – have been installed on the Cornish coast.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning today from 4am in southern England, the Midlands, the East, North West and Wales.

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Storm Brian will hit today

Gusts of around 50mph are expected widely in many parts. Forecasters are warning of power cuts, flooding to homes, and delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport.

Dan Suri, of the Met Office, said: "Gusts between 45 and 55 mph are expected widely within the warning area, with gusts of 60 to 70 mph along exposed coastal areas.

"These are expected to coincide with high tides, leading to locally dangerous conditions in coastal parts."

High waves batter the promenade in Porthcawl, South Wales, ahead of the arrival of Storm Brian

The weather bomb, which is sweeping in from the Atlantic, is likely to cause huge waves because it will coincide with high tides.

The Environment Agency has issued 42 flood alerts, as well as six flood warnings urging "immediate action".

Pictures of Environment Agency staff placing steel flood barriers at Fowey in Cornwall emerged on Friday, as south-western towns braced themselves to become some of the worst affected areas of the British Isles.

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Experts warn the storm, dubbed Brian, will bring winds of up to 80mph just days after Hurricane Ophelia killed three people in Ireland

National flood duty manager for the Environment Agency Ben Lukey warned members of the public against posing for photos during the hazardous conditions.

He said: "Environment Agency teams are on the ground, checking defences and taking precautionary action to close tidal gates and put up temporary barriers.

"We're working with the Met Office and local authorities and are ready to respond as necessary.

"We urge people to stay safe along the coast and warn against putting yourself in unnecessary danger by taking 'storm selfies' or driving through flood water - just 30cm is enough to move your car."

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