Storm Eunice latest: Schools closed and army on hold after Met Office warning

Storm Dudley hits UK as Met Office issues orange weather warning

Government ministers held an emergency Cobra meeting after the Met Office issued a rare ‘red’ weather warning – its most serious alert – in South Wales and South West England, amid fears Storm Eunice could be among the UK’s worst in 30 years.

Widespread school closures were announced in Wales and Devon on Friday, while Boris Johnson said the military was “on standby” to help if needed.

All rail services in Wales will be suspended and English people have been urged not to travel by rail or road if possible.

Forecasters fear high winds could reach 100mph in parts of the country and endanger lives, rip roofs off homes and bring down power lines, with some meteorologists comparing their spread and strength to those seen during the infamous Burns Day storm in 1990.

Friday’s storm – which is expected to potentially bring blizzard conditions further north – will hit just days after Storm Dudley saw winds and rain sweep across Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland. North, cutting off electricity for tens of thousands of people and immobilizing trains.

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More than 50 schools across Bristol will close tomorrow

Bristol City Council is advising schools to close in the city due to the weather, the PA news agency reports.

That of the council website shows that more than 50 schools in the city plan to close due to inclement weather.

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 4:17 p.m.

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Trees pictured block major train line, Network Rail Scotland says

Several trees have fallen on the West Coast Main Line’s overhead wires, blocking one of the country’s most important rail corridors.

Network Rail Scotland has warned that clearance and repair work is expected to last until at least 9pm.

Line operator Avanti West Coast announced the disruption just north of Lockerbie more than three hours ago.

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 4:05 p.m.

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Major incident declared as major bridges near Bristol likely to close due to winds

Storm Eunice has been declared a major incident by authorities in South West England, with police warning it was likely two major river crossings would be closed due to high winds.

Avon and Somerset Police said that due to forecast winds of 90mph, it is highly likely that both Severn crossings – the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge and the M48 Severn Bridge – will be closed.

You can refresh this breakup story by Tom Batchelor for updates:

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 3:50 p.m.

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Wind warning extended through Saturday

The Met Office has now issued another yellow weather warning on Saturday for the wind – for South Wales, South West England and all along the South Coast, between 6am and 6pm.

Further strong winds are expected in parts of the south of the UK which could hamper recovery efforts after Storm Eunice, the National Forecaster said. The agency warned:

  • There is a small chance that some roads and bridges will be closed
  • There is a small chance of longer journey times or cancellations as road, rail, air and ferry services are affected
  • Infrastructure recovery work resulting from Storm Eunice could also be hampered i.e. power outages could be extended

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 3:44 p.m.

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My colleague Emily Atkinson has more details on the school closures announced so far in Wales and Devon here:

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 3:26 p.m.

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Welsh First Minister urges public to prepare for storm

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said he attended the Cobra emergency meeting on Storm Eunice earlier today, and the Welsh Cabinet is meeting this afternoon “to discuss preparations for the storm”.

“We are working closely with national agencies, local authorities and emergency services to prepare for the arrival of Storm Eunice,” Drakeford said.

“A red warning has been issued for much of South Wales from 7am tomorrow meaning life is at risk. Orange warnings will be in place from Friday morning for the rest of the country.

“We expect significant travel disruption, all trains in Wales will be canceled on Friday, so think carefully and only travel tomorrow if absolutely necessary.

He added: “We will continuously monitor the situation and keep the people of Wales informed. Please make preparations today so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 3:19 p.m.

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Storm Eunice could produce ‘pungent jet’ likely seen in 1987 Great Storm, expert says

Storm Eunice may be able to produce a ‘pungent jet’, a meteorologist has suggested – a phenomenon seen during some of the UK’s strongest windstorms.

Peter Inness, associate professor at the University of Reading, describes these events as “a narrow, focused region of extremely strong winds embedded within the larger strong wind area and lasting only a few hours”.

“Such events are quite rare, but the ‘Great Storm’ of 1987 almost certainly produced a stinging jet, and some of the most damaging windstorms since have also shown this pattern,” Dr Inness said.

The winter storms that hit the UK form during periods when a strong jet stream blows across the Atlantic, with winds 7-10km above the ground and often well over 150mph, according to Dr. Inness.

Currently, winds are blowing at nearly 200 mph, at a height of 9 km in the eastern Atlantic, he said.

“A powerful jet stream like this can act as a production line for storms, generating a new storm every day or two,” Dr Inness added. “There have been many occasions in the recent past where two or more devastating storms have passed through the UK and other parts of Europe in the space of a few days.

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 3:15 p.m.

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Man in his 60s killed in Storm Dudley after falling from truck

A man in his 60s has died after falling from a lorry last night during high winds caused by Storm Dudley.

He was picked up by paramedics at the scene in Marston Green, Solihull, after falling from the vehicle just before 9.30pm but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards, West Midlands Police said.

“The Health and Safety Executive has been notified and it is believed to be an industrial accident,” a spokesperson said.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man.”

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 3:03 p.m.

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Met Office updates amber warning for most of England and Wales

The Met Office has updated its ‘orange’ weather warning for the wind, in effect across most of England and Wales between 5am and 9pm tomorrow. Forecasters now warn:

  • There is a high chance that flying debris can lead to life-threatening
  • Damage to buildings and homes is likely, with blown roofs and downed power lines
  • Roads, bridges and railway lines are likely to close, with bus, train, ferry and flight delays and cancellations
  • Power outages, possibly prolonged, are likely to occur, possibly affecting other services, such as mobile phone coverage.
  • Large waves are likely and beach material is likely to spray onto beachfronts, roads and coastal properties, and flooding of some coastal properties appears likely.
  • It is likely that there will be falling branches and uprooted trees

Here is the area it covers, stretching to Fleetwood in the northwest, dipping south to Leeds and encompassing Hull to the northeast:

(Met Office screenshot)

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 2:47 p.m.

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Wales will suspend all train services on Friday

All rail services in Wales will be suspended on Friday due to what Transport for Wales has described as the biggest storm in a decade – with disruption likely to continue over the weekend so that more than 1,000 miles of track can be checked and cleared of debris and fallen trees.

Rail replacement bus services will also not be able to operate as the road network will also be disrupted, the Welsh government agency said.

Transport for Wales is allowing passengers with tickets for Friday or Saturday to travel instead today or between Saturday and Monday, if services have resumed by then. The original tickets will be valid for these journeys.

The decision was taken jointly by Network Rail and the rail operators, with the safety of passengers and rail staff being paramount.

“The decision to temporarily close the railway in Wales has not been taken lightly, but the safety of passengers and staff is our top priority,” said Network Rail Wales route director Bill Kelly. & Borders.

Andy GregoireFebruary 17, 2022 2:28 p.m.

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