© GettyPorthcawl, Wales takes a battering from yet another fierce Atlantic storm.
The largest wave ever seen in British waters was recorded at 3.30am yesterday by a buoy operated by the Plymouth Coastal Observatory at Porthleven, Cornwall.

The beast destroyed the previous record British wave of 67ft and forecasters warned it was only the beginning of 72 hours of storm hell.

It came as experts recommended a TSUNAMI warning system be installed in the Atlantic to protect Britain and Ireland from enormous waves they claimed were 'increasingly likely'.

The UK was battered by 90mph winds and torrential rain again overnight - but by far the most violent storm forecast in recent times is yet to hit with widespread damage and disruption expected in the coming days.

Parts of a key railway line were destroyed and nearly 10,000 homes were left without power as the brutal weather wreaked havoc yesterday.

Police helicopters were scrambled to help evacuate 150 properties in the Somerset flooding danger zone as David Cameron set up a £100million emergency fund to assist communities in coping with the crisis.

Winds of 105mph were recorded on the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall while one pub in Chesil Beach, Dorset was completely submerged by a giant 60ft wave.

The latest storms saw Dawlish in Devon bear the brunt of the damage - with shocked locals claiming it felt like "the end of the world".

Resident Robert Parker said: "It was like an earthquake.

"I've been in some terrible storms in the North Sea but last night was just a force of nature."

Another local, Jeff Deacon, added: "This is surreal. I've never seen anything like this. There's debris all over the road - it's like a war zone."

A 100ft stretch of seawall in the town collapsed into the swirling waters, leaving the railway line hanging in mid-air.
© PAThe sea wall and railway collapsed.
The damage sparked chaos for travellers as First Great Western were forced to halt the busy Penzance-to-Exeter service.

Patrick Hallgate, from Network Rail, said it could take four to six weeks to repair the track, which is the main rail link between south Devon and Cornwall.

Dozens of homes were evacuated across the South West as seawalls crumbled away - and two people trapped in their car had to be dragged to safety by firefighters.

Many thousands of homes in the West Country were left without power. Devon councillor John Clatworthy said it was the "worst damage seen for more than a century".

He added: "The storm was unbelievable. It is not just Dawlish that is affected, this railway line is to Plymouth, the naval bases, Cornwall - it is a lifeline."

The monster seas included some of the biggest waves recorded around the world. Swells of up to 75ft were seen off the coast before hitting Penzance in Cornwall.
© Stephan SlaterA record wave has just hit Britain but forecasters warn far worse is coming.
And waves of 40ft lashed the coast around Sennen, the UK's most westerly parish.

But forecasters warned that worse is to come over the next few days - with another weather front hurling towards us across the Atlantic at speeds of up to 150mph.

Almost three inches of rain is set to fall in the next 72 hours with forecasters issuing Level-2 severe warnings for torrential downpours across the South every day until Saturday. The main threat from tomorrow comes from a deep Atlantic low-pressure system hurtling towards the UK.

The Met Office has warned it will have a "significant" impact and cautioned people against using coastal paths and roads.

The heavy rain and gales forecast over the next three days look set to worsen the current flooding crisis.

Chief meteorologist Andy Page said: "Further spells of heavy and persistent rain will affect southern parts of England and south Wales from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning, and again from late Friday evening until early Saturday followed by frequent heavy showers.
© KNS NewsHuge wave approaches the three-storey Cove House Inn at Chesil Beach in Dorset.
"Gales will accompany the rain on Saturday with severe gales likely for exposed coasts in south-west England. The public should be prepared for disruption due to flooding."

Jonathan Powell, from Vantage Weather Services, said gusts could hit 100mph this weekend.

He added: "This is a very destructive and powerful storm heading towards the UK, capable of felling trees and damaging buildings."

The Environment Agency yesterday issued nine severe flood warnings, which indicate "danger to life".

There are 64 flood warnings and more than 200 flood alerts in place with the flood-hit South and South-west still most at risk.

The EA said 328 homes have flooded since Friday and warned more heavy rain, strong winds and waves threaten further misery.

In Brighton, a major part of the historic West Pier collapsed after being battered by winds of up to 70mph and rough seas.

Main supports on the eastern side of the structure, which was shut in 1975 after being deemed unsafe, washed away splitting the former pavilion into two sections.

An elderly woman was rescued from her car after it was trapped in flood water near Watermouth, North Devon.

Mr Cameron yesterday chaired an emergency Cobra meeting to discuss the floods.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs minister Owen Patterson has faced criticism over his handling of the crisis. But the Prime Minister's spokesman said: "The Secretary of State is doing an excellent job."

Elsewhere in the UK it was a chillier picture as heavy snow hit Scotland. Glenshee Ski Centre in the southern Cairngorms was buried under 33ft snow drifts - six times deeper than the slopes at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.