Storm Eunice: Public in England and Wales urged to stay at home as storm approaches

Residents are being urged to stay home and train services are being cancelled after the Met Office issued the highest level of alert for Storm Eunice.

The red weather warning – the highest alert, meaning a high impact is very likely – has been issued due to the combination of high tides, strong winds and storm surge, which is understood to be a rare event for the UK.

Snow and extreme winter weather is expected in Scotland.

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The Met Office said there is a risk of “flying debris resulting in danger to life” and “damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down”.

A train heads along the west coast between Whitehaven and Carlisle after Storm Dudley hit the north of the country last night. Picture date: Thursday February 17, 2022.

The warning covers the coastline of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset as well as the south coast of Wales and will be in effect from 7am until 12pm on Friday.

Amber warnings, the second highest alert level, for wind are in place across the whole of England from 5am to 9pm on Friday while yellow weather warnings, the next level down, for wind and snow are in force for a large part of Scotland – where blizzards are predicted – and the whole of Northern Ireland.

With the storm looming, London North East Railway has urged customers with Friday tickets to travel on Thursday or Saturday instead or receive a refund due to expected disruption and damage.

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East Midlands Railway, Southeastern and Avanti West Coast have also urged people not to travel, with trains being cancelled, delayed and disrupted.

A Network Rail spokesman said disruption is “inevitable” and Welsh services will be suspended for the whole day.

Passengers have been advised that disruption is likely into the weekend as more than 1,000 miles of track in Wales is checked and cleared of debris and fallen trees.

In Cornwall, residents are being urged to take precautions and only travel if absolutely necessary, while people in north Somerset are being encouraged to stay at home.

The Prince of Wales has cancelled a planned visit to Newport and Swansea as a result of the forecast.

A Clarence House spokesperson said: “Following official guidance, the Prince of Wales’s visit to Newport and Swansea on Friday 18 February will not go ahead due to the dangers posed by Storm Eunice.

The Environment Agency has issued severe flood warnings for parts of the Severn and Wye estuaries in south-west England and south Wales ahead of the arrival of Storm Eunice, meaning there is a “danger to life” from strong winds, high waves and a high tide.

Severe flooding to homes and main roads is expected on Friday morning along the Severn estuary at Broadoak, Epney, Framilode, Frampton, Newnham, Priding, Saul and Westbury, and as well as the tidal Severn from Elmore to Rodley and the areas of Hempsted, Minsterworth and Stonebench near Gloucester.

Similar warnings are in place on the Wye Estuary at Brockweir and at Elmdale in Chepstow.

People in these areas should “take action immediately” and implement emergency flood plans.

Water levels will remain high for a prolonged period of time due to a tidal surge with very strong winds and large waves, the Environment Agency said.