Eunice, as the storm is known, landed in south-west Ireland before dawn, leaving tens of thousands without power, before heading towards Britain.
At least nine people have died in Europe from falling trees or debris, including two men and a woman in England, a man in Ireland, a Canadian in Belgium and four people in the Netherlands. The storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of people in Ireland and the UK.
Authorities warned people it was going to be serious. Britain’s Met Office weather service has issued not one but two rare ‘red’ weather warnings – the highest level possible – for Wales and parts of southern England, including London. It was the first time the British capital had received such a warning since the system was put in place in 2011.
The surprise star of the event, besides Storm Eunice, turned out to be Jerry Dyer, an aviation enthusiast who broadcasts Widespread television on Youtube. His channel quickly went viral, with more than 200,000 people tuning in to watch the planes land at Heathrow. Dyer reported live from the airport, with the camera focused on shaky planes arriving one after another.
Not all planes have landed. Some had multiple misfires and had to go around and try again. While the strongest gusts were seen along the coast in Ireland and the UK, Heathrow recorded a 70 mph gust.
Dyer’s images were biting at times, prompting some to wonder why Heathrow was still open. Others were hypnotized. As the planes rolled in, Dyer could be heard making comments like “Oh, no, he’s off-center!” and “Qatar’s third attempt, let’s go!” and “Okay, this guy is coming from the side.” He showed a bit of hometown pride as British Airways planes arrived to land.
The Big Jet TV man needs his own show right away. I love the comment. “Go Brits” whenever there is a BA flight. It’s like the D-Day Olympics.
— Ayesha Hazarika (@ayeshahazarika) February 18, 2022
It wasn’t all giggles and shivers. According to the UK Met Office, the Needles on the Isle of Wight recorded a 122 mph gust, “tentatively the strongest gust ever recorded in England.” The Needles are chalky landforms above the English Channel and home to a lighthouse in the far south of England.
In a dramatic scene, the roof of London’s O2 Arena was ripped open by the winds. The O2, a large multi-purpose venue popular for music concerts, did not comment on its partially missing roof, but in a post on its website it said a Fugees concert scheduled for Friday night had been cancelled.
It may not have come as a surprise to anyone watching. videos posted by a social media user with a view of the arena showing panel after panel torn off.
Assessing the damage caused by Eunice will take time. But by early Friday, the storm had caused widespread travel problems. All trains in Wales have been suspended. Rail operators across the rest of the country warned of disruption and several services were operating with a 50mph speed limit.
Others on social media shared images and footage of flying objects and falling debris. A user looked rather surprised when he captured the moment a giant tree Toggled in the middle of a seaside town. Network Rail, which runs most of the rail system in the UK, has released several alarming photos and videos to explain why some trains have been cancelled, including a video of a building roof be blown away on the railway tracks.
The government’s crisis committee, COBRA, met on Friday afternoon amid reports that Eunice could be one of the most intense windstorms in decades. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged people to “stay at home”.
A number of attractions, including the London Eye, a Ferris wheel on the River Thames, and Legoland, a Windsor-based theme park, closed on Friday as a precaution. Some zoos and parks have also closed.
The destructive gusts were caused by a phenomenon known as sting jet which, according to the UK Met Office, “is a core of strong winds which sometimes form in areas of low pressure which deepen rapidly and spread towards the ground”.
Strong temperature contrasts help strengthen these jets, and the storm’s power can be attributed to the collision of abnormally warm air over western Europe and freezing air over the North Atlantic.
Climate change may also have played a role in Eunice’s strength. A recent study published in the journal Climate Dynamics concluded that in a warming world, “the frequency of extreme windstorms in Europe is expected to increase” and “a large contribution comes from jet storms”.
However, some scientists are not convinced of a strong link between climate change and storms like Eunice. “Once a decade storms like Eunice will certainly hit the British Isles in the future, but there is no convincing evidence that they will become more frequent or more powerful in terms of wind speed,” said Richard Allan. , professor of climatology at the university. University of Reading.
He added, however, that a wetter atmosphere in a warmer climate “could make storms more powerful” in a tweetadding: “More intense rainfall due to additional moisture and worse coastal flooding due to sea level rise are a more certain effect of climate change on storms.”
In addition to high winds, Eunice also brought heavy rain and snow to parts of Ireland and the UK. Severe flood warnings have been issued for waterways in Gloucestershire, England, around 90 miles northwest of London.
Eunice intensified at breakneck speed before crashing into the British Isles, meeting the weather criteria of a “bomb cyclone“, tweeted Met Eireann.
By Friday afternoon local time, red weather warnings had expired in Ireland and the UK as the worst of the winds eased. But the Met Office urged caution throughout the evening with “significant disturbancestill possible, especially in Wales, where an orange weather alert remained in effect.
The storm was expected to sweep across mainland Europe until Saturday. The northern Netherlands, northern Germany, Denmark and Sweden could be hit hard before the storm crosses the Baltic Sea and hits Eastern Europe.
Samenow reported from Washington.