Two people were killed when their car skidded off the road as storms rolled in from the Atlantic today.
The pair were the first victims of bad weather due to wreak havoc across the UK over the next 24 hours.
Forecasters expect some places to see a month's rain, with flooding already taking place in Gloucestershire and a number of schoold being forced to close.
An astonished holidaymaker caught a twister on camera as gales gusted up to 50mph.
Anne Robertson, 52, was visiting her parents in Scotland when she spotted the funnel appear near the village of Back on the Isle of Lewis.
It seemed to soar above the ground for several minutes before touching the field underneath but miraculously did not cause any damage whatsover.
In constrast, today's storms were already starting to wreak havoc in some areas this morning with two people killed in a road accident and schools starting to close.
Two people were killed early this morning as the weather system moved in across the West Country, bringing heavy rain and strong winds.
A man and woman, believed to be in their 20s, died when their car struck a tree in Plymouth.
Another man in the Bere Alston area of west Devon had to be rescued from his car by firefighters after he was trapped by a tree branch.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said the man was pinned down in the vehicle suffering from neck injuries.
He was removed from the vehicle on a spine board before being taken to hospital by ambulance.
Of the moment she spotted the twister yesterday afternoon, retired teacher Mrs Robertson said: 'I was driving along, when this twister suddenly appeared from nowhere. It was an amazing sight, I have never seen anything quite like it before.
'It was quite a distance away and disappeared as quickly as it arrived. The sheep in the field took little notice of it so I did not feel I was in imminent danger.
'So I stopped the car and managed to get some pictures. It was surreal, the sun was shining on one side of the island and there was this twister sitting on the other side.'
The mini-tornado was followed by a huge swirl of cloud and then totally vanished before torrential rain started to fall.
Gloucestershire was shaping up to be one of the worst hit counties today after heavy rain battered the region over night and 60mph winds were due to take hold.
At least one school was closed this morning because of flooding and fifteen homes in Lydney were deluged over night.
For one family it was the third such calamity in 14 months. John Pritchard, 68, and his wife Carol had only finished redecorating after floods in January.
The couple's son, John, 28, said: 'It's heartbreaking. My mum and dad are pretty distressed. We were flooded last July, again in January and now this is the worst of the lot.'
Huge areas of the rest of Britain were preparing for similar downpours and on flood alert after forecasters predicted a month's rain would fall today.
Storms powering across the Atlantic were set to bring up to three inches of rain - an average for the whole of September - and winds of up to 60mph.
The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for Wales, north west England, West Midlands, south east England and London and south west England for today.
Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has put in place more than 30 flood warnings and alerts, proving that summer is well and truly over.
The miserable weather comes after an August which saw the fewest hours of sunshine on record for the month. It was also among the wettest since records began
Plans to build an 26ft-long ice sculpture of one of Britain's most famous bridges had to be cancelled because of the extreme weather.
Ice artists were due to to create a four-tonne replica of the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol city centre this morning to promote Smirnoff vodka.
The south west and Wales were set to be worst affected, but the rest of the country will also suffer heavy rainfall.
Scotland will be the one exception where conditions are due to stay dry and there could even be some sunshine.
Michael Dukes, a forecaster at MeteoGroup, said: 'After a soggy August the ground is already saturated and, with such large amounts of rain likely to fall in under 24 hours, there is a high risk of localised flooding.
'Strong winds will add to the misery, although it's the torrential rain that is likely to be the bigger hazard.'
He said that upland areas would experience the heaviest downpours.
The Met Office, in its severe weather warning, said yesterday: 'Heavy rain will affect southern parts of the United Kingdom on Friday.
'Highest rainfall totals are likely to be across south-western and western parts of England and South Wales.
'The heavy rain will gradually turn showery from the South-West during the late morning and early afternoon.'
The outlook over the weekend is bleak, with more heavy showers predicted for much of England, Wales and southern Scotland on Saturday.
The Environment Agency has issued three flood warnings for rivers in South Wales - meaning homes and businesses can be expect to be flooded - with two around the river Ewenny and one around the Ely in Newport, Gwent.
Areas covered by the flood alerts include rivers in Barnstaple and Exmoor in Devon, North Gloucestershire, parts of the Severn, the Ray in Oxfordshire, the upper Tamar in north Cornwall and the Wyre in Brock, Lancashire.