Flights cancelled Storm Eunice: are flights being cancelled today in UK - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted latest
As Storm Eunice wrecks havoc across the UK, many passengers have been left wondering whether planes can take off in strong winds
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Cancelled trains and road closures are a fairly common occurrence when the weather in the UK gets especially bad - but how will Storm Eunice affect flights?
In 2020, Storm Dennis saw hundreds of flights cancelled as winds reached 90mph, which is a lower speed than what has been predicted for Storm Eunice’s peak.
This is what you need to know.
How strong do winds have to be to cancel flights?
When it comes to flight cancellations, there isn’t just one specific wind speed that will see all flights be immediately cancelled - there are other factors to consider, like the direction of the wind.
Travel site Sky Scanner explains that “take-off and landing are the only times during a flight when high winds can result in flight delays - most every flight deals with high winds at some point during its climb or descent”.
It adds: “With this in mind, horizontal winds (also known as “crosswinds”) in excess of 30-35 kts (about 34-40 mph) are generally prohibitive of take-off and landing.”
Each aircraft will have its own limitations, so conditions that might cancel one flight might not affect another due to the differences in the plane.
Have flights been cancelled?
While no blanket cancellations have been announced yet, a number of flights have been cancelled as a result of the storm.
British Airways has cancelled at least 80 flights to and from London airports. If your flight has been cancelled, you can review your rebooking or refund options on the Manage My Booking section of the website.
Eastern Airways announced on Twitter: “Following a red weather warning by the @metoffice for Cornwall & the SW of England we have cancelled our @EasternAirways @Newquay_Airport to @Gatwick_Airport return on Friday 18th February.
“Apologies for the disruption - safety always our priority. Customers being contacted.”
Exeter Airport, in Devon, has cancelled three flights to Edinburgh, Exeter and Belfast, and easyJet has cancelled flights to Amsterdam and Belfast. Loganair has also cancelled 32 flights for today, with all of them to or from a location in England or Wales.
A number of airports have also urged passengers to keep an eye on the status of their flights in case of any changes.
Gatwick Airport said on Twitter: “Be advised that due to storm #Eunice, there may be disruptions to flights, trains & the shuttle service. Please try to arrive earlier, take extra care and check with your travel providers for flight information.”
Stansted Airport issued a similar warning on Twitter, writing: “Due to potential disruption caused by #StormEunice passengers are advised to check with their airline for the most up-to-date flight information.
“We also advice allowing plenty of time for your journey to the airport, as road and rail networks may be affected.”
East Midlands Airport also tweeted: “Due to potential disruption caused by #StormEunice tomorrow, passengers are advised to check with their airline for the most up-to-date flight information.
“We also advise allowing plenty of time for your journey to the airport, as road and rail networks may be affected.”
On its website, Heathrow Airport says: “Storm Eunice is forecast to cause poor weather conditions across the UK today (18 February). We are working closely with our airline and air traffic control partners to get passengers safely away on their journeys as quickly as possible.
“High winds and poor weather can cause last-minute delays, but we will do everything in our power to minimise any disruption. Please continue to check with your airline for the latest flight information.”
Manchester Airport also said on Twitter : "Due to potential disruption caused by Storm Eunice tomorrow, passengers are advised to check with their airline for the most up-to-date flight information. We also advise allowing plenty of time for your journey to the airport, as road and rail networks may be affected."
What have forecasters said about Storm Eunice?
The Met Office has issued two of its highest level warnings in regards to Storm Eunice - a red weather warning.
The red weather warning – the highest alert, meaning a high impact is very likely – has been issued due to the combination of high tides, strong winds and storm surge, which is understood to be a rare event for the UK.
The second rare highest alert – meaning a high impact is very likely – was issued to run from 10am until 3pm over the East of England on Friday due to fears of Storm Eunice “causing significant disruption and dangerous conditions due to extremely strong winds” up to 90mph, the Met Office said.
The warning covering Greater London, Kent, Surrey and other parts of the South East joined an earlier-announced 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.
Wind gusts in the most exposed coastal areas could exceed 90mph, the Met Office said, while an amber warning for gusts up to 80mph covers the whole of England from 5am to 9pm.
The Met Office added that the dangerous weather phenomenon known as a sting jet – a small area of highly intense wind inside a storm – could form later on Friday.
Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: “After the impacts from Storm Dudley for many on Wednesday, 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.”
“The red warning areas indicate a significant danger to life as extremely strong winds provide the potential for damage to structures and flying debris.”
There were also yellow warnings for wind until 6pm in the Midlands, north-east England, north-west England, some of Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland, as well as in for south-east England, south-west England parts of the West Midlands.
A separate yellow warning for snow was in place for much of Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England until the same time.
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