Violent storm Eunice hits the UK with winds of 195 kilometers per hour

Waves crash against the Porthcawl Seawall and Lighthouse in Porthcawl, Bridgend, Wales, Britain, as Storm Eunice makes landfall on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. (Jacob King/PA via AP) (Jacob King/ )

The london eyethe huge emblematic Ferris wheel of London, was closed on Friday and numerous flights and trains canceled due to Storm Eunicewhich fell with great violence on the United Kingdom and Ireland and put the north of the European continent on alert.

The south of England recorded record winds of up to 195 km per hourreported the British Meteorological Office, while in the English shores the storm raised a violent swell and the streets of London were almost deserted.

Storm Eunice - UK
Waves crash into Porthleven on the Cornish coast in south-west Britain. (Matt Keeble/PA via AP) (Matt Keeble/)
Storm Eunice - UK
Porthleven, Cornwall. Authorities urged millions of Britons to cancel travel plans and stay home (Matt Keeble/PA via AP) (Matt Keeble/)

“I urge all Londoners to stay home, take no chances and do not travel unless absolutely essential”said the mayor Sadiq Khanwarning that “extremely strong winds in the capital could cause falling debris and damage to buildings”, putting the lives of those outside at risk.

Storm Eunice in the UK
A gust of wind whips across the water surface of the River Thames over Blackfriars Bridge, against the backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral, central London. (Tolga Akmen / AFP) (TOLGA AKMEN /)

Dominating the city from the south bank of the Thames Riverwhere the gusts blew strongly, the London Eye, the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe and the third largest in the world at 135 meters high, It remained closed for “the safety of visitors.”

Storm Eunice in the UK
People struggle with the wind on Westminster Bridge (Tolga Akmen / AFP) (TOLGA AKMEN /)

The British weather service had put the day before on red alert – the highest level – South West England and South Walesbut on Friday morning he issued a unusual second high alertthis time for the southeast of the country, which for the first time since this system began to be used in 2011 includes London.

Storm Eunice - UK
A local butcher carries his shop sign across a snowy pavement in Tow Law, County Durham, Britain (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP) (Owen Humphreys/)

I know canceled numerous flights at airports across the country and rail companies asked passengers “not to travel.” More than 70,000 homes were without electricity in England and some 80,000 in neighboring Ireland.

Storm Eunice in the UK
Cars driven through the snow in Auchterarder, central Scotland (ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (ANDY BUCHANAN /)

The authorities warned of risk of severe flooding and “particularly high risk” of motorway accidents and numerous schools remained closed pending a crisis meeting of the British government in the afternoon.

A car drives past a tree blocking a road near St Ives, Cornwall (REUTERS/Tom Nicholson)
A car drives past a tree blocking a road near St Ives, Cornwall (REUTERS/Tom Nicholson) (TOM NICHOLSON/)

Storm Eunice in the UK
A truck lies on its side after being blown away by the wind on the M4 motorway near Margam in south Wales, (Geoff Caddick / AFP) (GEOFF CADDICK /)
The white domed roof of the O2 stadium is seen damaged by the wind in London (REUTERS / May James)
The white domed roof of the O2 stadium is seen damaged by the wind in London (REUTERS / May James) (MAY JAMES /)

“We all need to follow the advice and take precautions to stay safe”tweeted the prime minister Boris Johnsonwhile the Secretary of State for Security, Damian Hinds, asked the population to “stay safe”, stressing that the army was ready to deal with the effects of Eunice, one of the most violent storms in three decades.

Northern Europe on alert

Waves crash against the breakwater during Storm Eunice in Wimereux, northern France (REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)
Waves crash against the breakwater during storm Eunice in Wimereux, northern France (REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol) (PASCAL ROSSIGNOL /)

After hitting the UK, the storm is forecast to move towards Denmarkwhere it was decided that the trains circulate at a lower speed as a precaution and the Storebaelt bridge, one of the longest in the world, has to be closed almost certainly for most of the night, its operator warned.

On Franceon Friday morning the storm already caused four meter waves in Brittanyaccording to Météo France, which put five departments on orange alert with wind gusts of up to 110km/h in the northwest, which could exceed 140km/h locally on the coast in the afternoon.

Also the French railway operator SNCF announced interruptions in its regional lines.

A person watches the onslaught of waves in Wimereux, northern France (REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol)
A person watches the onslaught of the waves in Wimereux, in northern France (REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol) (PASCAL ROSSIGNOL /)

On Netherlandsthe weather service issued a red alert on Friday and hundreds of flights were canceled, according to local media. The trains had to remain stopped in the afternoon. On the Scheveningen beach in The Hague, the authorities built sand walls around the beach bars to protect them from the wind, while dozens of surfers braved the weather in search of the waves raised by the storm.

Storm Eunice - UK
A surfer walks past a beach bar that has been protected with a sand wall to prevent damage from the Eunice in Scheveningen, the Netherlands (AP PHOTO/Mike Corder) (Mike Corder/)

The Dutch Football Association postponed all professional matches and fans scheduled for Friday due to the storm.

On Belgium, the authorities have advised citizens to limit their movements as much as possible. Rail traffic is also interrupted and many schools have shortened their day.

People walk as waves break on the beach after Storm Eunice in Ostend, Belgium.  (REUTERS/Yves Herman)
People walk as waves break on the beach after Storm Eunice in Ostend, Belgium. (REUTERS/Yves Herman) (YVES HERMAN/)

On GermanyTrains were suspended in the north, including Bremen and Hamburg for the second day in a row, according to Deutsche Bahn.

Eunice hits northern Europe after the continent was already hit by heavy storms in recent dayslike Dudley who killed five people in Poland and Germany Thursday.

The famous fish market was flooded in Hamburg, Germany, on February 17, 2022. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
The famous fish market was flooded in Hamburg, Germany, on February 17, 2022. (REUTERS / Fabian Bimmer) (FABIAN BIMMER /)

Storm Eunice has raised increased concern because it has the potential to produce a “jet stream”, a small area of ​​intense winds that can exceed 160 km / hour.

An example of such a phenomenon occurred during what is known as the Great Storm of 1987which killed 18 people and felled 15 million trees across the UK, according to the Met Office.

“Looks like Eunice can produce”jet stream“a narrow, focused region of extremely high winds embedded within the larger area of ​​high winds and lasting only a few hours,” he said. peter innessa meteorologist at the University of Reading in England.

A fallen tree blocks the street in Tenby, UK (REUTERS/Rebecca Naden)
A fallen tree blocks the street in Tenby, UK (REUTERS / Rebecca Naden) (REBECCA NADEN /)

inness attributed the storms to an unusually strong current over the eastern Atlantic Oceanwith winds close to 320 km/hour at high altitudes.

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

Although climate change generally increases and multiplies extreme events, its impact is not so clear in the case of violent winds and storms (excluding tropical cyclones), the number of which varies greatly from year to year.

The latest report by the UN climate experts (IPCC) published in August estimates, with a very low degree of certainty, that there may be an increase in storms in the northern hemisphere since the 1980s.

He also estimates that storm-related precipitation is likely to increasebut that their intensity, including wind speed, remains more or less the same.

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