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First pictures inside O2 arena show scale of damage after Storm Eunice rips off roof
18 February 2022, 14:52 | Updated: 18 February 2022, 15:00
The first pictures from inside The O2 arena show the shocking scale of damage caused by Storm Eunice, after gale force winds shredded the famous dome's roof.
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New pictures seen by LBC show the view from inside the dome, with a gaping hole in the roof which has been battered by the storm.
Some of the white tent covering the venue could be seen flapping in the strong winds, with the building evacuated over safety concerns.
The famous building, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, will be closed for the rest of Friday, The O2 has confirmed.
A spokesperson for the arena said: "Due to today's adverse weather conditions, we can confirm that there has been some damage caused to the tent fabric in our roof at The O2.
"The affected areas have been cleared and The O2 will remain closed for the rest of the day. The safety of our visitors remains of paramount importance, and we will continue to assess the ongoing situation and act accordingly."
Claire, a caller on Shelagh Fogarty's show on LBC, said her brother works at The O2 and was about 200 yards from where the roof started ripping.
"It's been a pretty dramatic day for him," she told Shelagh.
"One of the guys from a nearby shop just ran and told him to get inside the store, get all of the customers out so they all had to run and then the O2 security said 'right everyone out, get evacuated', so the whole of the shopping area of the O2 has been evacuated."
She said it looks like a "massive repair job" and her brother is struggling to get home due to major disruption to the transport network.
Witness Mala Sharma said she had also seen parts of the dome damaged.
She said "more and more parts are getting ripped off", adding "it's going to be a safety issue for people around".
Ms Sharma said it happened "right in front of my eyes" and that the damage "started off with a patch" but then a "chunk" of the dome roof ripped off.
It comes as Storm Eunice causes chaos across the country, with schools, roads and businesses forced to shut.
There's also been major disruption to the travel network due to concerns over flying debris caused by gusts of over 100mph.
Pictures show lorries toppled over, trees uprooted by the wind, and trampolines strewn across railway lines.
In the south east of England, hundreds of passengers remain stranded on a train after a tree plummeted onto the railway line.
The line is blocked between Tonbridge and Sevenoaks - with all services suspended while the rescue operation takes place.
A lorry was also pictured hanging off The Medway Bridge on the M2, while scaffolding has collapsed in London injuring a man.
In Co Wexford, Ireland, one man has been killed by a falling tree.
Sadiq Khan echoed the call for Londoners to stay at home, saying in a tweet: "I urge all Londoners to stay at home, do not take risks, and do not travel unless it is absolutely essential.
"City Hall is in close contact with key agencies across the capital and our city is as prepared as possible for any potential impacts of Storm Eunice."
Hundreds of flights have also been cancelled, with British Airways saying it is suffering from "significant disruption", with dozens of flights cancelled.
Many flights have also been cancelled at London City Airport, Gatwick and Heathrow.