Storm Eunice: Met Office simulates path of strengthening storm
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The Met Office has warned of a danger to life from Storm Eunice which is due to hit the South-west of England and South Wales from Friday morning. A combination of high tides, strong winds up to 100mph and storm surge led the UK’s national weather service to issue a rare, red weather alert – the highest possible.
Dr Peter Inness, a meteorologist at the University of Reading, told The Telegraph: “Eunice looks like it may be able to produce a ‘sting jet’, a narrow, focused region of extremely strong winds embedded within the larger area of strong winds and lasting just a few hours.
“Such events are quite rare but the 1987 Great Storm almost certainly produced a sting jet and some of the more damaging wind storms since have also shown this pattern.”
The Great Storm ravaged the UK in mid-October, 1987, with gusts of wind up to 100mph devastating the country.
Eighteen people were killed and about 15 million trees blown down causing road and rail disruption and power cuts affecting thousands of homes for more than 24 hours, according to the Met Office.
BBC weather presenter Michael Fish has long been remembered for telling viewers there would be no hurricane the night before the storm struck.
South-east England suffered the greatest damage with gusts of 70 knots or more recorded continually for three or four hours in a row.
There have been stark warnings that Storm Eunice could be one of the worst in 30 years with winds of up to 100mph possible in parts of the UK.
Ahead of its arrival, the Met Office warned of 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.
The warning covers the coastline of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset as well as the south coast of Wales. It 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.
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.
Severe and significant flooding may also hit coastlines of the south and west of England as spring tides are expected on Friday morning.
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Schools and universities across the storm’s predicted path have announced closures with major incidents declared in counties including Cornwall, Avon and Somerset.
London North East Railway has urged customers with tickets for Friday to travel on Thursday or Saturday instead or get a refund due to expected disruption and damage.
East Midlands Railway, Southeastern and Avanti West Coast have also urged people not to travel with trains 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 to continue into the weekend as more than 1,000 miles of track in Wales is cleared of debris and fallen trees.
Airports including Gatwick and Stansted are advising customers to check the status of their flights with airlines as well as allowing plenty of time to travel.
After the Great Storm of 1987, a Met Office enquiry checked by independent assessors led to a number of improvements to weather forecasting.
Observation of the atmosphere over the ocean to the south and west of the UK was improved and refinements were made to computer models.
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