Storm Eunice: updates on trains, flights, schools as winds of up to 122mph recorded

The latest updates, photos and videos as the UK is battered by Storm Eunice

Two rare red weather warnings for wind have been issued by the Met Office, with forecasters warning of “significant gusts” up to 90mph.

This could lead to flying debris “resulting in danger to life”, power lines being brought down, and roofs blown off homes.

What has the Met Office said?

The Met Office updated their warning today (18 February):

“The Red Weather Warnings for wind cover some coastal areas towards the southwest, including south Wales, from early on Friday morning, before a separate Red Warning comes into force for much of the south and southeast with similar damaging gusts and disruption expected. Wind gusts in the most exposed coastal areas could be in excess of 90mph, which would bring significant impacts for many and represent a danger to life.

“Further inland and within the wider Amber Warning area, gusts will still be impactful and damaging for many, with 60-70mph gusts likely for many, and 80mph in a few places.”

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Where does the red warning affect?

A red warning for wind is in place across parts of south west England and part of Wales from 7am to 12pm on Friday.

This covers 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.

Widespread inland gusts of 70mph to 80mph are forecast, which could rise to 90mph near some coastal parts.

The second red alert – meaning a high impact is very likely – has been issued over the east of England from 10am until 3pm on Friday.

This warning covers Greater London, Kent, Surrey and other parts of the South East, where wind gusts in the most exposed coastal areas could exceed 90mph.

More on that warning here.

Spectacular waves in South Wales

Waves crash against the harbour wall in Porthcawl, Wales. All of Wales rail services have been suspended and most schools will close. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)Waves crash against the harbour wall in Porthcawl, Wales. All of Wales rail services have been suspended and most schools will close. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Waves crash against the harbour wall in Porthcawl, Wales. All of Wales rail services have been suspended and most schools will close. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Warning to London commuters

Transport for London (TfL) urged people to avoid non-essential travel in the capital.

A spokeswoman said: “Due to the Met Office’s red warning over Storm Eunice, customers are advised to only travel if essential, and those who need to should check before they travel using our website and the TfL Go app.

“We are doing all we can to ensure we are prepared for any impact with extra staff ready to respond quickly to any incidents, but some services will be affected by the extreme weather.

“We are also urging Londoners to please take care if they travel around the city.”

How does Eunice compare to the ‘Great Storm’ of ‘87?

Wind speeds of up to 79mph have been recorded at St Mary’s Airport on the Isles of Scilly and the Needles on the Isle of Wight, the Met Office said.

At Capel Curig in Conwy, north Wales, gusts have reached 75mph, while at Mumbles Head near Swansea on the south Wales coast they have hit 74mph.

During the “Great Storm” of October 1987, wind speeds peaked at 115mph at Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, while also reaching 99mph at Gatwick Airport and 94mph in central London.

Met Office weather warnings mapped

Graphic: Kim Mogg / NationalWorldGraphic: Kim Mogg / NationalWorld
Graphic: Kim Mogg / NationalWorld

Channel ferries cancelled

P&O Ferries has suspended all sailings between Dover and Calais. The operator said:

“All services between Dover and Calais are suspended until further notice.

“We expect this to be the case for most of the day and we will provide further information when possible.

“We strongly advise our customers not to travel to the Port of Dover today.”

More than 50,000 homes without power

Tens of thousands of homes in the south of the island of Ireland are without power as Storm Eunice continues to blast the country.

More than 55,000 homes, farms and businesses were left without power on the island on Friday morning, as the storm tracked eastwards across the Republic.

Counties Cork, Kerry and the south of the country have suffered the worst of the weather so far, with the storm bringing high winds and snow to parts of the island.

Met Eireann said that gusts of more than 130km per hour had been recorded in Cork, while fallen trees and blocked roads caused serious travel disruption to several counties on Friday morning.

Schools and colleges in nine counties across the Republic of Ireland will be closed on Friday after Met Eireann issued a red wind warning for Cork, Kerry, Clare and Waterford.

An orange snow warning has also been issued for several counties in the north and west, including Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon.

Travel disruption chaos

Commuters are being urged to postpone travel plans due to widespread train delays and cancellations.

Train operators have warned passengers to avoid travelling on Friday as emergency 50mph speed limits are in place in many areas to make it easier for drivers to brake in the event of damage or debris on the track caused by strong winds.

No trains are operating in Wales for the entire day, meaning Great Western Railway services from London Paddington are terminating at Bristol Parkway instead of continuing to Swansea.

Among the firms advising customers not to travel on Friday are Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Great Northern, London North Eastern Railway, Southern and Thameslink.

Waves on the harbour of St Ives

Waves on the harbour of St IvesWaves on the harbour of St Ives
Waves on the harbour of St Ives

Flight cancellations and delays

EasyJet has cancelled a “small number of flights” from UK airports on Friday.

Passengers on easyJet flight EJU8014 from Bordeaux to London Gatwick endured two aborted landings before their plane was put in a holding pattern over the south coast and forced to return to the French city.

The plane touched down back at its starting point more than three hours after it departed.

EasyJet told passengers: “We’re very sorry that your flight has now been diverted back to Bordeaux.

“This is due to poor weather conditions in London Gatwick, which are below safe operating limits.”

British Airways has also warned that the rate of aircraft permitted to land at Heathrow Airport “is being reduced due to gale force winds”.

The airport wrote on Twitter: “High winds and poor weather may cause last-minute delays, but we will do everything in our power to minimise any disruption that results.”

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