Brits warned not to leave home as worst storm in 30 years batters UK with 100mph winds

17 February 2022, 09:58 | Updated: 18 February 2022, 00:28

  • Army on standby as Storm Eunice hits the UK
  • Stay at home warnings in place across the UK
  • Cornwall, Avon and Somerset declare major incident
  • Rare red weather alert issued for parts of South West England and South Wales
  • Government called COBRA meeting to discuss Storm Dudley response and preparedness for Storm Eunice
  • Storm Eunice expected to bring 100mph gales and power cuts with danger to life alert in place
  • All trains cancelled in Wales tomorrow
Red and amber weather alerts have been issued for Storm Eunice on Friday
Red and amber weather alerts have been issued for Storm Eunice on Friday. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Army have been put on standby and schools, trains and attractions have been shut down by a 'once in a decade storm' as a rare danger-to-life weather warning comes into force.

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The highest alert weather warning comes into place from 7am on Friday due to the combination of high tides, strong winds and storm surge because of Storm Eunice, the Met Office said.

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.

Whilst the Environment Agency has issued 10 severe flood warnings which could cause danger to life.

The Met Office updated its amber warning to red on Thursday, with people told to "take action now" to keep safe if they haven't already done so.

It has prompted schools, train services, bridges and major attractions across the UK to shut to amid public safety concerns.

Weather experts fear the conditions could create as weather phenomenon known as the 'sting jet' – a narrow, focused region of exceptionally strong and destructive wind.

It would be the first instance of such an event since the Great Storm of 1987, which claimed 18 lives in England.

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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.

Met Office forecaster Annie Shuttleworth said: "The whole of the country will be affected by the extremely strong and damaging winds, which will cause significant disruption.

"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.

"In areas covered by the red warning, especially coastal regions, there is likely to be overtopping of the sea, flooding to roads and homes, trees being overturned, tiles coming off buildings and power lines being toppled over.

"I'd advise people to tie down objects in their gardens, check for cancelled flights - they may not be able to land - and think about travelling by train or roads due to traffic or delays or because bridges may be closed.

"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."

The Prime Minister has said the army is on standby to help in the worst case.

Boris Johnson said: "For those who have already been affected by Storm Dudley, we are offering all the support that we can.

"My sympathies to those who are still without power - we are working with the power companies, the local authorities to get their juice restored as fast as possible.

"But of course, the army is on standby."

Read more: Storm Dudley claims first victim after lorry driver falls off HGV

A red weather warning has been issued for Storm Eunice
A red weather warning has been issued for Storm Eunice. Picture: Getty

The Met Office said: "It is very likely that there will be a risk to life, with substantial disruption to travel, energy supplies and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure. You should avoid travelling, where possible, and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities."

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There are warnings flying debris could result in danger to life, with damage to building and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down.

Uprooted trees are also likely, and many roads, bridges and railway lines could be forced to close.

Gatwick Airport has warned of disruption to flights as well as its shuttle services between 10am and 4pm on Friday, and is advising people to leave plenty of time.

The Cobra emergency committee will meet "to discuss the response to Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice", the Government said on Thursday.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Ellis will lead the meeting.

It comes hours after Storm Dudley battered the UK, with gusts of over 80mph recorded in some coastal parts of Wales.

The storm caused major travel disruption and left thousands of homes without power.

Avon and Somerset police declared a major incident today as Storm Eunice approaches “due to the potential for severe disruption.”

The force warned of dangerous conditions along the west coast of Somerset through the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary into Gloucestershire.

Police have urged members of the public to avoid travelling on Friday morning wherever possible and to follow weather and travel bulletins on local radio or check on local media websites.

In Wolverhampton trains were affected by damage to the station roof, and in Lincolnshire roads including the A16 were blocked with floods and fallen trees.

In Bristol city centre a street was closed after reports of a sheet of glass blowing off a hotel.

Trains were disrupted across the country - including the line into Gatwick Airport - by fallen trees and damage to electrical cables.

Around 20,000 properties lost power as a result of Storm Dudley, according to Northern Powergrid.

"Our teams have restored power to some 19,000 homes and businesses impacted by Storm Dudley, and we are working to get the lights back on for around 1,000 properties still affected," a spokesperson said.

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Scotland has seen particularly bad travel disruption, with ScotRail services suspended entirely from Wednesday evening.

Network Rail Scotland shared photos of the damage from the storm, including trees that had fallen onto the lines and crushed overhead power cables.

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There is also a yellow warning for wind and snow covering northern England, southern Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The warning means there is a chance of travel delays and power cuts.