Localised flooding has also caused major disruptions on roads - and more than 30,000 homes have been left without power.
In North Yorkshire, a RAF helicopter plucked a couple to safety after their car was swept away in floodwaters near Aysgarth. They were flown to hospital with suspected hypothermia.
A third person was also rescued from his car in a separate incident near the village of Gunnerside.
Police have advised against all travel until at least 2am Friday, when winds are expected to ease.
The Met Office earlier issued its strongest warning - a red alert - for winds in Scotland and warned parts of England and Wales to "be aware", as temperatures were expected to drop and snowfall was predicted as far south as Birmingham.
It said the Highland observing station at Glen Ogle reported a gust of 104mph at 11am. The Met Office later tweeted that a gust at the Aonach Mor ski area peaked at 137mph.
But further north in the Cairngorms, winds topped 165mph - the fastest gust recorded in the UK since 1986 when 173mph was felt, also on the top of the summit.
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