Storm Eunice: Three people killed as strong winds sweep across UK

Storm Eunice: Three people killed as strong winds sweep across UK

By Joseph LeeBBC NewsMedia caption, Watch videos showing the impact of Storm Eunice – crashing waves, torn roofs and fallen treesThree people have died in one of the worst storms to hit the UK in decades.Fierce winds from Storm Eunice toppled trees and sent debris flying, causing the deaths of a woman in her 30s…

By Joseph Lee
BBC News

Media caption,

Watch videos showing the impact of Storm Eunice – crashing waves, torn roofs and fallen trees

Three people have died in one of the worst storms to hit the UK in decades.

Fierce winds from Storm Eunice toppled trees and sent debris flying, causing the deaths of a woman in her 30s in London, a man in his 20s in Hampshire, and a man in his 50s in Merseyside.

A 122mph gust on the Isle of Wight set a provisional record in England, while the storm closed schools, disrupted travel and tore off roofs.

About 400,000 homes were without power as of Friday night.

Five people died elsewhere in Europe.

Coastal areas of south-west England and south Wales, along with south-east England, had been on alert after rare red weather warnings were issued by the Met Office early on Friday, indicating a danger to life.

There are several less-serious yellow warnings in place across Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England – because of concerns about wind, snow and ice.

Police in Highgate, north London, said they were called to reports of a tree falling on a car at 16:00 GMT. The woman, a passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver, a man in his 30s, was taken to hospital.

The man killed in Merseyside was a passenger in a car heading towards Aintree at about 14:10 when debris reportedly hit the windscreen, police said.

Paramedics treated him at the scene, but he was pronounced dead. The driver was not injured.

In Alton, Hampshire, two men were in a pickup truck when it was crushed by a falling tree. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene while the driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Image source, Solent News and Photo Agency

Image caption,

One man died and another was seriously injured when their pickup truck hit a tree on the A31 in Hampshire

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Coastal areas experienced some of the strongest winds

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Fallen trees blocked roads and railway lines across the country

Police forces and local authorities across the country reported being inundated with phone calls related to the storm, with some having to ask the public only to dial 999 if there was a risk to life.

London Fire Brigade declared a major incident in response to the volume of calls, and the Ambulance service in South Central England declared a critical incident due to demand on its emergency services.

Among those injured were a woman with her baby, who was hit by a tree in Bedford – hurting her but leaving the baby unharmed.

A driver in Wiltshire was in a serious condition and two passengers were taken to hospital after a car collided with a fallen tree, while others were injured in south London and Henley-on-Thames by falling trees and debris.

‘Dust and debris everywhere’

Image caption,

Ms Price said her daughter was now really frightened of the wind, and the house had been condemned

One minute Holly Price and her five-year-old daughter Olivia were having a normal day, the next they were forced to flee the house after the roof caved in.

Holly, from Newport, south Wales, said: “My daughter was upstairs and we heard an almighty bang and a lot of noise.

“I just dropped to the ground, then ran upstairs to grab my daughter because she was screaming.”

The chimney breast had fallen through and left “dust and debris everywhere”.

“The sound will never, ever leave me – it was just heart-breaking to hear my daughter screaming,” said Holly, adding they were “lucky to be alive”.

The pair will be staying at a family member’s house tonight, then see if they can get emergency shelter.

Number of customers without power as of Friday night:

  • UK power networks (Southeast and East): 156,000
  • Scottish and Southern: 120,000 (mainly in the south)
  • Western Power: 112,000
  • Northern: 6,000 (mainly in Yorkshire)
  • Electricity Northwest: 658
  • Northern Ireland electricity networks: 15

Millions of people were advised to stay at home unless they had to be out for work or essential travel.

Hundreds of thousands of people watched live footage of planes struggling to land at Heathrow during the storm, while ferries battled strong gusts as they came into port.

Image source, Reuters

Image caption,

Winds ripped off sections of the roof at the O2 Arena in London

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Strong winds overturned lorries on the M4 in south Wales

Image caption,

Neighbours of St Thomas’s Church in wells said it was lucky no one was injured when the top of the spire fell

Dozens of flights were cancelled and hundreds delayed at airports across the UK, while P&O Ferries stopped services between Dover and Calais.

With many railway lines blocked by trees and other debris, major train operators – including Chiltern Railways, Avanti West Coast and Great Western Railway – were forced to suspend services, while in Wales all trains were cancelled.

Dangerous winds forced both the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge and M48 Severn Bridge into Wales to be closed to traffic, while the Humber Bridge linking Yorkshire and Lincolnshire closed during Friday afternoon.

Eunice is the second storm in a week to hit the UK, after parts of Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland were battered by Storm Dudley.

It has also brought dangerous conditions to areas across north-west Europe.

In Ireland, a man in his 60s was killed by a falling tree in County Wexford. Three people also died in the Netherlands after being hit by falling trees, and a Canadian man aged 79 was killed in Belgium.

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