Batten down the hatches!

The innocuously named Storm Imogen has been terrorising the UK coast over the past 24 hours, unleashing a barrage of rough seas and fierce winds often in excess of 80 mph.

The Met Office says sea conditions in the "phenomenal" bracket -- the highest level on the World Meteorological Scale, reserved for waves of more than 14m (46ft) -- have been observed at several points offshore, while the BBC reports that 19.1 metre (63 ft) waves have been measured off the Cornish coast, although it doesn't specify exactly where. In any case, they will hardly have been of the rideable variety.

Meanwhile winds have reached 81mph on the Isles of Scilly, 84mph in Pembrey Sands on the Welsh coast, and as much as 96mph at the Needles off the Isle of Wight.

19,000 homes were at one point cut off from the power grid yesterday, and most of those that remain without power are in Cornwall and Devon, the two worst affected areas. All train services in and out of Cornwall have been cancelled after a tree fell on the line near Bodmin, and an RSPCA officer remains missing after he attempted to rescue dozens of sea birds at Porthchapel Beach, near Penzance. Wales too has been badly hit; the day's funniest story unfolded near Pontypridd following the collapse of a special bridge designed to help dormice cross the Church Village by-pass. Dormice are protected under EU habitat regulations, but the erection of the £190,000 bridge, consisting of wire mesh tubes suspended between trees and tall poles, had been criticised by many as an unnecessary expense. It landed on the windscreen of a passing car, leading to lengthy traffic jams.

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Sennen, a small town near Cornwall's westernmost tip home to such luminaries of British surfing as Sam Bleakley and the Smart brothers, has borne the full brunt of it.

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Blasted #sennencove

A video posted by Sam Bleakley (@sambleakley1) on

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In Newquay, home to Russell Winter and David Beckham of UK surfing Alan Stokes, cars left in the Fistral car park were waist-deep in sand.

Hope he doesn't get a parking ticket !!! #fistral #fistralbeach #carpark #newquay #storm #sand #cornwall #love_cornwall #love #lovenqy #sandstorm #ifollowcornwall #instagram #stormimogen

A photo posted by @newquay_ninja on

Also at Fistral, also by @newquay_ninja

St. Agnes, home to Steve Instance:

Fairly stormy in St Agnes right now!

Posted by Steve Instance on Monday, 8 February 2016

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Croyde beach cafe
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Croyde (above and below), home to England's best beachie and the world famous Andrew Cotton, was awash with froth.

In Wales, Borth was also covered in an inch-thick blanket of what at first appeared to be snow, but was in fact a thorough lathering of Atlantic foam.

Not a snow storm! Storm Imogen whipping up sea spray across Borth High Street. #stormimogen #storm #spray #waves #Borth #Wales #Cymru #igerswales

A photo posted by Janet Baxter (@janbx) on

More foamy stuff #seaspray #Borth #storm #stormimogen #Wales #Cymru #igerswales

A photo posted by Janet Baxter (@janbx) on

Further down the coast, onlookers in the town of Porthcawl witnessed spectacular scenes as the sea wall took a battering. . .

Photo: Steve Jones, Deputy Launch Authority at Porthcawl RNLI
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Dormice, a protected species under EU habitat laws