Storm Eunice Slams Northern Europe With Dangerously High Winds

A potentially life-threatening storm battered parts of Britain and Northern Europe on Friday with damaging high winds, causing widespread travel disruptions, closing schools and knocking out power. The storm, called Eunice, was expected to be the worst to hit the region in 30 years, weather officials said.

Britain’s national weather service, the Meteorological Office, issued rare red weather warnings, meaning a threat to life, for southern England and parts of Wales through Friday afternoon. Belgium and the Netherlands also issued severe weather warnings.

A wind gust of 122 m.p.h. was recorded on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England, which if confirmed would be the country’s highest ever, the Met Office said.

Richard Miles, a spokesman for the Met Office, said on Friday that the storm was going to be more significant than any since one in January 1990 that killed dozens of people in England.

More than 200 flights were canceled at airports across Britain and Northern Europe, with most of the cancellations at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website. (By lunchtime in London, a livestream of jets attempting to land at Heathrow Airport was being watched by more than 200,000 people.)

Train service in parts of Britain was also disrupted, with Wales canceling all service for the day because of the weather. Network Rail, which owns and operates Britain’s rail infrastructure, urged people not to travel on Friday “unless absolutely necessary.”

There were no immediate reports of deaths, and the extent of damage was unclear, although images on social media showed parts of the roof of the O2 Arena in London shredded by the wind. Calls to the arena on Friday were not immediately returned.

Scores of schools districts along the southern and western coasts of Britain were closed Friday, and attractions in and around London, including the London Eye, were also forced to close because of dangerous winds. Plans for Prince Charles to visit Newport and Swansea, on the south coast of Wales, were also canceled Friday in the “interest of public safety.”

As of early afternoon, more than 140,000 customers in Britain had lost electricity, according to PowerOutage.com, which aggregates data from utilities.

A wider swath of the United Kingdom was under an amber warning, indicating a high risk for power outages, damage to buildings and trees, the Met Office said. Windy conditions could also scatter debris along beaches.

The northern edge of the storm was expected to bring the risk of snow to parts of Britain, and some areas could see blizzard conditions.

In the Netherlands, rail service was temporarily suspended, and professional soccer games on Friday were postponed. In Belgium, some schools closed early because of the storm.

The storm was expected to clear out by the end of the day, Mr. Miles said, but conditions will remain windy over the weekend.

The storm comes after another, Dudley, knocked out power across parts of Britain and Northern Europe and sent waves crashing through a ferry in Hamburg, Germany, causing damage.

Claire Moses contributed reporting from Amsterdam.


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