On Friday, the second significant storm in three days wreaked havoc throughout northern Europe, killing at least nine people as powerful winds downed trees, disrupted train services, and ripped pieces of the roof off London’s O2 Arena.
As Storm Eunice stormed across the country’s south, a gust of 122 mph (196 kph), estimated to be the greatest ever recorded in England, was registered on the Isle of Wight, according to the UK weather service. Storm Zeynep, as it is known in Germany, is now forcing its way across the European continent, causing strong wind warnings in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.
Travel in Britain was disrupted by the storm, which shut down the English Channel port of Dover, closed bridges connecting England and Wales, and halted most trains in and out of London.
At least three people died in Britain, including a man slain in southern England when his car collided with a tree, another guy killed in northwest England when his windshield was smashed by debris, and a lady in her 30s killed in London when a tree fell on her car, according to police.
Three individuals were killed by falling trees in and around Amsterdam, according to firefighters, and a fourth died after driving his car into a fallen tree in the northern province of Groningen.
High winds pushed an elderly man into a canal in Ypres, Belgium, where he perished. According to the local council in County Wexford, Ireland, a local government worker was killed while responding to a fallen tree.
Eunice is the second named storm to slam Europe this week, with the first storm in Germany and Poland killing at least five people. The storms were blamed on an abnormally powerful jet stream across the eastern Atlantic Ocean, with gusts nearing 200 mph (321 kph) at high altitudes, according to Peter Inness, a meteorologist at the University of Reading in England.
“A strong jet stream like this can work like a storm assembly line, producing a new storm every day or two,” Inness explained. “In the recent past, there have been numerous occasions when two or more destructive storms moved across the United Kingdom and other areas of Europe in the space of a few days.”
As a result of the forecast, British officials took the unprecedented step of issuing “red” weather warnings for regions of southern England, including London, and Wales, which lasted until early afternoon. From 5 a.m. until 9 p.m., a lower level amber warning for gusts up to 80 mph is in effect across England.
Eunice affected travel across southern England and Wales even before Britain was hit by the full power of the storm, with several train services postponed and numerous flights and ferries cancelled. Several tourist attractions in England, including the London Eye, Legoland, and Warwick Castle, as well as all of London’s Royal Parks, were closed ahead of the storm.
The spire of a 19th-century church in Wells, southwest England, was toppled by the wind. High winds blew pieces of the roof off the 02 Arena in London, which was once known as the Millennium Dome and is located on the south bank of the River Thames. A total of 1,000 individuals were evacuated from the area by firefighters.