WINDS causing havoc across the county have escalated to hurricane strengths.

Staff at Newhaven National Coastwatch Institution said they recorded “force 12 hurricane gusts” of 73mph earlier this afternoon.

The coastguard is advising people to stay away from the sea.

Transport is severely disrupted. Southern Rail has warned that services across the entire Southern network could be cancelled or delayed.

The company said no direct trains can run between Lewes and Haywards Heath due to signalling problems and flooding near Cooksbridge. 

The road at Cooksbridge level crossing is currently blocked both ways because barriers are stuck in the down position.

Several other Sussex roads are closed, including Dyke Road in Hove, which is shut both ways due to a fallen tree between Seven dials and the A270 on Old Shoreham Road.

Power lines are down on Mill Road, Burgess Hill, and the road is closed between Park Road and Crescent Road.

A shuttle bus is covering for trains cancelled between Bognor Regis and Barnham due to a fallen power cable.