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Friday, November 11, 2022

Storm Eunice: London added to red weather warning amid ‘danger to life’ | UK weather

The east of England including London has been added to the red weather warning for wind issued by the Met Office because of Storm Eunice, which has prompted rare danger-to-life warnings, with millions of people told to stay indoors at home to avoid 90mph winds.

The rare highest alert – meaning a major impact is very likely – was widened just before 4am, to run from 10am until 3pm on Friday, due to fears of the storm “causing significant disruption and dangerous conditions due to extremely strong winds”, the Met Office said.

The warning covering Greater London, Kent, Surrey, Essex and East Sussex joined an earlier red weather warning starting from 7am along the coastline of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, as well as the south coast of Wales, due to the combination of high tides, strong winds and storm surge.

Waves batter the New Brighton promenade in Liverpool as Storm Eunice moves closer.
Waves batter the New Brighton promenade in Liverpool as Storm Eunice moves closer. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

There is a risk of “flying debris resulting in danger to life” and “damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down” along the coastline of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset as well as the south coast of Wales.

People have been warned to tie down objects in their gardens and be wary of fierce winds which could cause trees to topple over and tiles to fly off buildings. “Make sure you follow the advice of local authorities and councils, fasten doors and windows tonight and tomorrow morning and keep your cars locked in garages or away from trees and walls,” said Met Office forecaster Annie Shuttleworth.


“People will see significant delays to travel and power cuts, so you should avoid travelling if you can and stay at home when winds reach the highest speeds.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said disruption is “inevitable” and Welsh services will be suspended for the whole day. The railway operator said there will be blanket speed restrictions of 50mph in most places.

London North East Railway urged customers with tickets for Friday to travel on Saturday instead or get a refund due to expected disruption and damage. Some airports including Gatwick and Stansted are advising customers to check the status of their flights with airlines, as well as allowing plenty of time to travel.

People wait in line at a London train station as a result of the cancellation of some services due to the storm.
Commuters queue at a London train station after the cancellation of some services due to the storm. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Transport for Greater Manchester has asked customers to “please consider whether your journey is essential today and take care if you are out and about”. The operator said Storm Eunice was likely to cause significant disruption from 5am until 9pm.

The Met Office also took the unusual step of issuing a severe weather alert with National Highways for strong winds covering the whole of the country’s strategic road network from 6am to 6pm.

National Highways said high-sided vehicles and other “vulnerable” vehicles such as caravans and motorbikes could be blown over so should avoid bridges and viaducts.

Those travelling between England and Wales faced difficulties with the closing of the M48 Severn Bridge, while the alternative Prince of Wales bridge was expected to be closed about 6am.

The service said the A14 Orwell Bridge in Suffolk will be closed in both directions from 4am with the QEII Bridge in Dartford closed from 5am.

A snapped 300ft wind turbine at the Pant-y-Wal windfarm in Wales.
A snapped 300ft wind turbine at the Pant-y-Wal windfarm in Wales. Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Serious flooding may take place along the coastlines of the south and west of England as spring tides are expected on Friday morning. It comes after Storm Dudley caused travel disruption and power cuts to parts of the UK on Wednesday. The government’s Cobra emergency committee met on Thursday to discuss the storm response and plan for power cuts.

Amber warnings – the second highest alert level – for wind are in place across the whole of England from 5am to 9pm on Friday, while yellow weather warnings – the next level down – for wind and snow are in force for a large part of Scotland where blizzards are predicted and the whole of Northern Ireland.

Some councils across the UK are to help shelter homeless people and halt bin collections.

Attractions including the London Eye, Legoland and Warwick Castle are temporarily closing. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, west London, and Wakehurst, West Sussex, are also closing.

In Scotland a weather warning for snow is in place between 3am and 6pm on Friday, while a wind warning encompasses the south-west Scottish borders, including most of Dumfries and Galloway. Snow is forecast for most of mainland Scotland on Friday, south of Inverness and Fort William. It follows strong winds from Storm Dudley that caused significant disruption to rail and ferry services, with trees blown on to train tracks and overhead power lines.

The deputy first minister John Swinney said. “Please follow all advice and only travel if safe to so do.” With more than 20cm of snow predicted on higher ground and 5cm elsewhere, Scottish Mountain Rescue warned there was a risk of “dangerous conditions” including the possibility of avalanches.

With the Press Association

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