‘Danger to Life’ Warning Issued as Storm Eunice Hits England, Wales

© AP Photo / Owen Humphreys/PA / Giant waves crash over Souter Lighthouse in South Shields in Tynemouth, England, Friday, March 2, 2018 as extreme weather has continued to wreak havoc across the UK
Giant waves crash over Souter Lighthouse in South Shields in Tynemouth, England, Friday, March 2, 2018 as extreme weather has continued to wreak havoc across the UK - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.02.2022
Earlier in the week, Storm Dudley, packing winds of up to 81mph in in North Wales and 74mph in West Yorkshire, left thousands of people in north-east England, Cumbria, and Lancashire suffering power outrages and dealing with travel chaos.
As the Meteorological Office issued a red alert for most of the UK, including London, over storm Eunice, millions of people across the country have been advised to stay indoors, work from home and abandon all travel plans.
The weather system began battering the west coast of England and southern Wales on Friday, packing winds of up to 145 kilometers (90 miles) per hour.
“Storm Eunice will bring damaging gusts in what could be one of the most impactful storms to affect southern and central parts of the UK for a few years,” chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen was quoted as saying in the latest weather forecast.
Eunice is expected to bring with it a rare and dangerous weather phenomenon dubbed a “sting jet”, which is a focused area of particularly destructive wind, reported the Daily Mail. This weather event was last registered during the Great Storm of 1987, when hurricane-force winds caused casualties in the UK, France and the Channel Islands.
Both the Met Office – the national meteorological service for the UK – and National Highways issued a rare red warning for the South West coast and south Wales from 07:00 GMT until 12:00 GMT over the possibility of “flying debris resulting in danger to life”.
The last red weather warning was issued by the UK Meteorological Office over Storm Arwen in November 2021.
National Highways added that there was a “particularly high risk” that “vulnerable” and high-sided vehicles such as caravans and motorbikes could be blown over. People using such means of transportation were warned against venturing out onto bridges and exposed highways throughout England.
Throughout the red warning zone, the Met Office warned that roofs could be blown off, power lines brought down, and trees uprooted.
The Met Office’s Aidan McGivern was cited by the BBC as saying that red warnings were issued only when there was a significant danger to life.
"It is the most powerful storm we have seen in recent years and we should tie down anything loose…, and make plans to stay in, especially if you live in a red zone," he stated.
Winds are anticipated to be 60 to 70mph inland across the south of the UK, enough to knock someone off their feet.
A "danger to life" amber warning is in place for the rest of Wales, most of England, including the South, the Midlands, and reaching as far north as Manchester.
Many sites within the amber zone, including Kew Gardens, the London Eye, Windsor Castle and Legoland Windsor, Richmond, Bushy and Greenwich Parks in London have announced they will shut down amid the forecast of inclement weather.
The UK Environment Agency also issued a statement warning coastal communities to brace for flooding as the storm coincides with the start of a period of spring tides. Ten severe flood warnings are in place on the Severn Estuary and the Wye Estuary, with coastal flooding expected to the west, south-west and the south coast of England. Forty-foot waves are expected to hit Britain's shores.
Schools across the worst-hit regions in the South West and Wales had earlier announced they would shut down on Friday. As for transport, Network rail warned of “inevitable” disruption.
UK Rail operators have urged passengers to avoid using their services, including London North Eastern Railway, Greater Anglia, Avanti West Coast and TransPennine Express. According to South Western Railway, a speed restriction will be in place across its network. Planes at airports are also expected to be grounded.
The response to the incoming storm was discussed on Thursday by the British government at an emergency Cobra meeting, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the Army was "on standby" to offer “all the support we can”.
Johnson added that soldiers would be deployed if needed.
“So 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,” said the PM.
Storm Eunice comes as damage in the wake of Wednesday’s Storm Dudley is still being dealt with.
The storm downed power lines, leaving more than 20,000 properties in the North of England suffering outages, bringing with it fallen trees, strong winds, debris, flooding and large coastal waves.
"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 for Northern Powergrid was cited as saying by Sky News.
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