Seafronts were evacuated and more than 100 flood warnings were issued as Britain braced itself for more waves and gales.
Three areas of the south-west coast were given severe flood warnings, meaning there is danger to life.
Meanwhile, in Aberystwyth, west Wales, residents, including 250 students, were evacuated from the seafront as it prepared for another lashing.
The worst winter storms in 20 years have already reduced large parts of the historic promenade to rubble with bins, railings and lumps of masonry littering the area.
Richard Griffiths, who runs the Richmond Hotel, said it looked like it had ‘been hit by a bomb’ and said one listed public shelter was in the sea.
‘It’s almost completely on the beach,’ he said. ‘We have been watching it fall into the sea all day.’
Western and southern areas are bearing the worst of the weather, as gusts of up to 70mph hit coasts, with people urged to stay away from coastal roads, promenades and jetties.
A total of 117 flood warnings have been issued covering the midlands, south-east, south-west, Wales and East Anglia. The warnings mean immediate action is required by people in those areas. There was a risk of flooding in 221 locations last night, the Environment Agency warned.
Severe flood warnings apply in Dorset at Preston Beach, Lodmoor, near Weymouth and Chiswell near Portland. A third is in place at the lower Stour at Iford Bridge Home Park, Bournemouth.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson gave a statement to the Commons offering sympathy to the families of the seven people who have died in violent storms between December 23 and January 5 and the 1,700 whose homes flooded.
He added: ‘While the majority of local councils and utility companies responded effectively, the response of a few left room for improvement.
‘All received early warning from the Met Office and the Environment Agency that severe weather was on the way.
‘There are lessons to be learned about how customers are supported and informed during power cuts.’
He also announced plans for the government to spend £370million a year on flood defences from 2015, rising to £400million in 2021.
Tens of thousands of people lost power on Christmas Day, with more than 17,000 still without it on Boxing Day.
Big wave junkies flock to ride the black swell
Big wave chasers from California and Hawaii headed into the teeth of the storm dubbed Hercules to risk their lives riding the ‘black swell’.
Mullaghmore Head on the north-western tip of Ireland is reckoned to be the ‘best the spot in Europe’ for pro surfers.
Nick Rees, from Surfing GB, went to the rugged peninsula in Co. Sligo.
He saw Andrew Cotton, the Devon surfer who hit the headlines when he rode a 30m (100ft) wave off Nazare beach in Portugal, and the appropriately named Lyndon Wake in action.
‘The waves here are in the 20ft range at the moment and just getting bigger,’ Mr Rees told Metro.
‘I have seen about 20 surfers from all over go in, Americans, Australians. You just don’t get waves this big very often so people are making the most of it.
‘Both Lyndon and Andrew got some really good waves, Andrew got a wipeout on a really big one.
‘This is not a time for amateurs to get in the water.’
Budget cuts may harm emergency responses
The cash-strapped environment department will struggle to respond as well to emergencies such as the recent storms in the face of budget cuts, MPs fear.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has seen £500million carved from its spending since 2010 – with at least another £300million to go over the next two years.
The department’s ability to deal with crises such as flooding, the horse-meat scandal and ash dieback tree disease must be protected, the environment, food and rural affairs parliamentary committee said.
‘Defra is a small ministry facing massive budget cuts and which relies on a large number of arms-length bodies to deliver many significant areas of policy,’ said committee chairwoman Anne McIntosh.
‘Recent flooding events over the Christmas and new year period reinforce the committee’s concerns about cuts to the Defra budget and how these will be realised.’