Home / News / World /  Storm Eunice forces power cuts in 1,20,000 UK homes, red alert in London

More than 120,000 homes in Britain were without power and hundreds of flights were cancelled as Storm Eunice blew across London, southeast England and parts of continental Europe.

The Met Office issued a red warning for London and southeast England from 10 am until 3 pm, with winds as high as 80 miles (129 kilometres) set to batter the country. An earlier red warning for parts of southwest England and south Wales will remain in place until noon on Friday, while the storm is also impacting the Netherlands, France, Germany and Ireland.

So far, network operators are reporting that more than 120,000 British households, mainly outside London, are without power. The storm is also disrupting flights and trains in and out of the capital. Severe wind storms are likely to become more common in Northern Europe as global temperatures rise, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The UK government’s emergency committee, known as Cobra, will meet this afternoon to discuss the response to the storm.

The storm is moving across Britain after earlier reaching Ireland. About 55,000 homes and businesses are without power in Ireland, mostly in the southwest of the country, state broadcaster RTE said. A wind gust of 172 kilometres per hour was recorded at a lighthouse off the south coast, the Irish Met Office said. 

At London City Airport, a favourite for business travellers because of its proximity to central districts, all scheduled arrivals and departures were cancelled through at least 4 p.m. Heathrow, London’s biggest airport, was showing 66 cancellations as of 10:11 a.m., according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.

Storm Eunice was also making its impact felt across Europe, with Amsterdam’s Schiphol showing 295 cancellations, more than any other airport and representing about 20% of incoming and outgoing flights. All Dutch train services will be suspended from 2 p.m. due to strong winds.

Transport Disruptions

In the UK, National Rail warned that the storm would severely disrupt travel. Train services between London’s St. Pancras and Bedford are currently disrupted because of damage to overhead electric wires north of the capital. Services in Wales were canceled, and ferry operators scrapped a number of voyages to Ireland. Crossings between Dover and Calais in France, were suspended until further notice. “We expect this to be the case for most of the day," P&O Ferries said in a Twitter post.

Five departments in northern France were placed on orange alert Friday morning for strong winds and flooding. TER trains in the Nord, Pas-de-Calais and Somme departments were no longer running as of noon, though high-speed TGV services and lines into Paris were largely unaffected.

In Germany, the national forecaster issued its most severe -- level four -- weather warning for parts of the country’s northwest. 

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn warned train connections, particularly across northern regions, might be impacted on Friday and Saturday. Trains toward northern coastal areas have been canceled, while the service between Hamburg an Hannover is running an hour behind schedule, Deutsche Bahn said on its website.

A larger area in the north of the country, including Berlin, Hamburg and Dusseldorf, have a warning in place for “severe" weather, one step below the highest caution level.

The storm is bringing some relief to the electricity market, as Eunice spins the nation’s fleet of wind turbines. After the storm passes, the U.K. could post record wind power output on Sunday.

However, the powerful gusts mean that some wind farms may not be operating at full capacity today as many turbines turn off when wind speeds go above about 56 miles per hour to protect the machinery. 

There is a less severe amber warning for all of southern England and parts of the midlands until 9 p.m. Friday. Further north, in Scotland, heavy snow is forecast and may cause disruptions.

Scientists said that wind from storms like Eunice likely aren’t made more severe or frequent due to climate change. But warming global temperatures do mean the atmosphere can hold more water and sea levels are rising, leading to increased risk from flooding when such extreme weather strikes. Winds could be more affected by global warming in the second half of the century, depending on the extent of temperature increases, according to a Met Office spokesperson.

“Once in a decade storms like Eunice are certain to batter the British Isles in the future but there is no compelling evidence that they will become more frequent or potent in terms of wind speeds," said Richard Allan, professor of climate science at University of Reading. “Yet with more intense rainfall and higher sea levels as human-caused climate change continues to heat the planet, flooding from coastal storm surges and prolonged deluges will worsen still further when these rare, explosive storms hit us in a warmer world."


This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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