New wind warnings issued amid concerns Storm Eunice clear-up could be hampered

18 February 2022, 12:15 | Updated: 19 February 2022, 22:19

Parts of England including Yorkshire (centre) have seen heavy snow, while the UK grapples with the clear-up from Storm Eunice
Parts of England including Yorkshire (centre) have seen heavy snow, while the UK grapples with the clear-up from Storm Eunice. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Fresh weather warnings for wind have been issued across most of the UK as about 150,000 people remain without power following Storm Eunice.

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This is down from the estimated 449,000 who still had no power on Saturday morning after the storm battered the UK with record-breaking winds on Friday.

Travel disruption has also continued into the weekend, with many train services not running and "do not travel" notices reissued.

People have also been warned by the London Fire Brigade to "be aware of the potential for loose structures or falling debris".

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A yellow weather warning for wind covering most of England and Wales is in place from midday on Sunday until 3pm on Monday.

Another - covering parts of north-west England, north Wales, south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland - will run from the same time until midday on Monday.

The warning says: "Power outages are possible, and efforts to restore power to areas which have had interrupted supply in the wake of Storm Eunice are likely to be hampered."

It adds: "Some damage to infrastructure and trees/branches is possible, especially where made more vulnerable by Storm Eunice."

An additional yellow warning for rain is in place in north-west England from midnight on Saturday until 6pm on Sunday.

Millions of people were urged to stay at home on Friday due to safety fears over the impact of Eunice, one of the worst storms to hit the UK in a generation, while transport woes meant many were unable to travel.

The windy conditions led to deaths and injuries in different parts of the country, along with travel disruption, flight cancellations, power cuts and police forces being inundated with calls.

Winds of 122mph have been provisionally recorded at the Needles on the Isle of Wight, which, if verified, would be the highest ever recorded in England.

The big clean-up could be hampered as a number of yellow wind and ice warnings are in place across parts of the country.

South Western Railway expects "significant disruption" across its network throughout Saturday, and said work was ongoing to clear the lines after more than 40 trees were felled on its routes.

Several Great Western Railway services have returned, with other operators able to run a partial service, but some long-distance routes are still facing suspension.

Routes on the Greater Anglia and Stansted Express network have also been suspended due to fallen trees.

Meanwhile, Southeastern said a train, which was not in service, hit a fallen tree just outside Longfield station in Kent.

National Rail said many operators were reporting "major damage" to the railway and obstructions on the line and urged passengers to check before travelling.

It said: "Network Rail have additional engineers out across the network dealing with the continuing problems, and will check all affected lines for damage before reintroducing services as quickly as possible."

However c2c, Caledonian Sleeper, East Midlands Railway, Grand Central, Hull Trains, London Overground, Lumo, Merseyrail, Northern, ScotRail, and TfL Rail had returned to normal by 4pm on Saturday.

The M48 Severn Bridge has reopened after being closed due to Eunice. Operators said they would continued to monitor wind speeds over the crossing.

The M4 Prince of Wales Bridge reopened to traffic on Friday. It was thought to be the first time both bridges had closed to all traffic because of high winds.

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The Port of Dover was closed "in the interests of customer and staff safety" on Friday, meaning no ferries could operate between Dover and Calais.

It has since re-opened to shipping and some ferry services have resumed, but passengers are advised to check before travelling.

The Queen Elizabeth II bridge, which is part of the Dartford Crossing, was closed on Friday but, as of Saturday morning, has reopened.

On Saturday morning around 60,000 customers were still without power in the South of England, 58,000 in the South East, 55,000 in the South West, 35,000 in Eastern England and about 15,000 in South Wales, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) said.

At least four people died after Storm Eunice battered the UK, bringing with it winds of 122mph and causing chaos and disruption to millions of people across the country.

Scotland Yard confirmed a female passenger in her 30s had died in north London when a falling tree hit a car. The male driver was injured but his condition is not thought to be life threatening.

Merseyside Police said a man in his 50s had died after the car he was in was hit by flying debris in Netherton.

Earlier, authorities in Ireland confirmed a council worker had died after being hit by a falling tree.

Wexford County Council issued a statement after the man died, saying: "It is with deep regret and sadness that Wexford County Council confirms that one of our employees was fatally injured earlier today in a workplace accident."

A spokesperson added: "The accident occurred as the employee attended the scene of a fallen tree in the North Wexford area.

"The employee's family, An Garda Siochana and the Health and Safety Authority have been informed."

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London Ambulance Service (LAS) confirmed two people had been injured in separate incidents as a rare red alert was issued for the capital.

A man was taken to hospital after being injured by falling debris in Waterloo, south London, at around midday.

LAS said he was "treated at the scene and taken to a hospital as a priority".

Another man was taken to hospital with a head injury after being struck by a tree in Streatham, south London.

The incident happened shortly before 11am.

A third man in his 20s died when a tree hit the car he was driving in Alton, East Hampshire.

Two men were in the vehicle, and the passenger was pronounced dead at the scene while the other faced serious injuries, Hampshire Police said.

People were urged to stay at home on Friday due to widespread travel disruption as one of the worst storms in a generation hit the UK.

Schools, roads and businesses shut, with major disruption to the travel network due to concerns over flying debris caused by gusts of over 100mph.

Pictures showed lorries toppled over, trees uprooted by the wind, and trampolines strewn across railway lines as Storm Eunice thrashed across the UK.

In the south east of England, hundreds of passengers were stranded on a train after a tree plummeted onto the railway line.

The line remained blocked between Tonbridge and Sevenoaks on Friday evening - with all services suspended while the rescue operation took place.

A lorry was also pictured hanging off the Medway Bridge on the M2, while scaffolding collapsed in London, where people were urged to only make essential journeys.

As the storm approached the capital, Sadiq Khan told 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," he said.

Hundreds of flights were also cancelled - including at London City Airport - with British Airways saying it was suffering from "significant disruption".

At Heathrow at least 65 flights - both departures and arrivals - were cancelled and a further 114 were delayed by more than 15 minutes, according to aviation data provider FlightStats by Cirium.

At Gatwick there were 15 cancellations and 67 delayed flights.

Meanwhile, all railway services were suspended in Wales, where schools were also closed and remote learning took place.

Gusts of more than 120 miles per hour were recorded on the Isle of Wight, with the Met Office saying it was provisionally the highest gust ever recorded in England.