STORM Rachel was set to strike Sussex last night with 75mph gusts and heavy rain forecast throughout this morning.

Drivers were warned to take care on the roads, homeowners to tie down loose garden furniture and residents to be aware of the localised flooding.

Bosses at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals were on stand-by for any weather-related incidents.

The Met Office issued a yellow warning for wind and rain this morning, with the extreme weather set to die down in the afternoon.

A Met Office spokesman said that the worst storm would hit at around midnight.

He said: “There is a yellow warning in place for both wind and rain and you will see gust of between 60mph and 70mph. Overnight there will also be a lot of rain with 20mm to 30mm by 8am.

“The worst of it will be over by the afternoon and it is not looking too bad for Friday and the weekend. It will be cold, but there will be spells of winter sunshine.”

The Environment Agency issued more than half a dozen flood warnings including for the River Adur, Upper Ouse, River Uck, Cuckmere River, the Lower Arun and Upper Arun.

There is also a risk of localised flooding, with areas around Preston Park and Patcham in Brighton, thought to be particularly at risk.

A spokeswoman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue urged people to call 999 if flooding was in danger of posing a “risk to life”.

For overflowing drains and flooded roads the local authority should be called.

The fire service along with the RNLI also warned people to stay away from waves on the seafront following the deaths of Freddie Reynolds, 24, and Dan Nichols, 23, who were killed after being swept out in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Sussex Police reminded drivers on the roads to slow down this morning and leave extra room for braking.

At the time of going to press there were no reports of schools being closed but councils advised parents to check in this morning for updates.

For all the latest news on the storm, see