An Atlantic storm has battered England and Ireland with winds of up to 160km (100 miles) per hour, prompting warnings from the UK’s weather office that Storm Eunice could sow significant disruption, tear off roofs and hammer London.
Eunice, which brewed in the central Atlantic and was spun up from the Azores towards Europe by the jet stream, has extreme wind speeds that pose a danger to life, the UK’s Meteorological Office said.
The storm hit England’s western coast on Friday, making landfall in Cornwall, according to Reuters news agency.
“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,” Met Office Chief Meteorologist Frank Saunders said.
“The red warning area indicates a significant danger to life as extremely strong winds provide the potential for damage to structures and flying debris.”
Danger to life
The Met Office warned flying debris from gusts could result in danger to life, blow off roofs, uproot trees, close roads, disrupt train services and ground planes.
A Red warning is also in place for southwestern England.
Such warnings are relatively rare. The last one issued was in November 2021.
The UK security minister, Damian Hinds, said troops were on standby to deal with the consequences of the weather.
“Everybody is on a state of readiness, a state of alert,” Hinds said.
Meanwhile, more than 55,000 people in the south of Ireland, predominantly in Cork and Kerry, were left without power following the arrival of Storm Eunice on Friday.
Schools and colleges across the Republic of Ireland will remain closed on Friday after officials warned of a “high-impact, multi-hazard weather event”.
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.
While the storm is expected to be powerful but relatively short, officials have warned that it is likely to leave a trail of damage and disruption, including fallen trees, power outages and coastal flooding.