Storm Eunice red weather warning UK: what different Met Office warnings mean - yellow, amber and red explained

A red weather warning has been put in place for large parts of the country as Storm Eunice rears its head - but what exactly does this mean?

The Met Office use a traffic light system to grade any dangerous weather - here’s how it works. (Credit: Getty)The Met Office use a traffic light system to grade any dangerous weather - here’s how it works. (Credit: Getty)
The Met Office use a traffic light system to grade any dangerous weather - here’s how it works. (Credit: Getty)

Large parts of the UK are set to be battered by strong winds after the Met Office issued a red weather warning.

Just as the country recovers from the battering inflicted by Storm Dudley, there is another storm on the horizon.

Storm Eunice is set to cause havoc right across the UK, with the Met Office upgrading the original amber weather warnings to red in South East England and in Wales.

But what does a red weather warning mean, and how does the National Severe Weather Warning Service work?

What does a red weather warning mean?

The Met Office use a traffic light system to indicate how severe a period of bad weather will be in a specific region.

The red weather warning is rare and indicates that the severe weather conditions may pose “a danger to life”.

It is also the highest level of warning that can be given, with the scale indicating that danger is “very likely” and will have a “high impact”.

This can be applied to a range of weather conditions, with red weather warnings available for wind, snow and rain.

What should I do during a red weather warning?

The Met Office will place a weather warning at red if there is a severe risk to life as a result of poor weather.

As a result, it is recommended that you remain indoors where possible.

Travel is likely to be disrupted with road and bridge closures, with public transport expected to be cancelled.

Any non-essential travel is not recommended while the warning is in place.

Energy supplies may be effect leading to power cuts in some parts.

For red wind warnings, you should secure any loose furniture or fitting in you garden to avoid both damage to your possessions but also to avoid damage to surrounding property.

This includes items such as trampolines or garden furniture.

How common is a red weather warning?

A red weather warning in the UK is not very common at all.

Usually, the public are used to hearing a yellow or amber warning for weather.

The last time a red weather warning was used in the UK was in Scotland and north-east England in November 2021 during Storm Arwen.

This storm saw 100mph winds batter the region, with thousands of homes left without power for several weeks and leading to the death of three people.

The Met Office said: “Red Weather Warnings are rarely issued by the Met Office, with the last one coinciding with Storm Arwen in November 2021, but you’d have to go back to March 2018 for the last Red Warning for wind before that.”

However, Storm Eunice brought the first red weather warning to south-east England, including London, since the system began in 2008.

What other levels are there in the National Severe Weather Warning Service?

Alongside a red warning, there is a yellow warning and an amber warning.

What does a yellow weather warning mean?

A yellow warning is given when the weather conditions are strong but are expected to have only a low-level impact on day-to-day life.

Most people will be able to travel as normal will little disruption.

What does an amber weather warning mean?

An amber warning is given when there is an increased likelihood of severe weather having an impact day-to-day life.

There is a likelihood of disrupted travel, power cuts and risk to property and life.

As a result, you may want to take some extra precautions such as tying down loose furniture and fixtures in the case of high winds, and planning travel ahead of time to avoid any road closures or public transport delays.

Where do I find out if there is a weather warning in place?

The Met Office will issue a weather warning well ahead of the expected bad weather.

This will be communicated throughout the media to allow you to make any arrangements or plans.

however, you can visit the Met Office website, for a real time map detailing the specific areas where different warnings are in place.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.