Hundreds of flights, trains and ferries have been canceled across northwestern Europe as extreme winds from Eunice, which are sweeping across Europe less than 48 hours after Storm Dudley, whose death toll on the continent is at least five dead.
A 60-year-old man was killed by a falling tree in southeast Ireland on Friday, police said.
A gust of 196 km / h was recorded on the Isle of Wight, unheard of in England, while others were measured at more than 110 km / h inland, including at London Heathrow airport .
UK red alert
Millions of Britons have been told to stay at home by the UK Meteorological Service, which has issued a red alert level – the highest – over south-west England, south Wales, but also for the South East, including London.
The streets of the capital, for the first time at this alert level since the system was put in place in 2011, were unusually quiet, while part of the canvas covering the O2 Arena, where concerts and sports competitions, tore apart under the gusts of wind.
More than 70,000 homes were without power at midday in the southwest of England, according to the grid operator. Many schools remained closed and an inter-ministerial crisis meeting was scheduled for the afternoon.
Cross-Channel ferry traffic was interrupted and more than 400 flights were canceled at British airports, according to specialist company Cirium.
A Bordeaux-London plane had to turn back after twice trying to land at Gatwick airport, while a Qatar Airways A380 managed to land at Heathrow on its third attempt, in front of some 230,000 netizens riveted to the Big Jet TV live YouTube channel.
There is a danger of life during this kind of big weather eventSecretary of State for Security Damian Hinds warned on Sky News television, stressing that the army was ready to be deployed to face this storm which could be one of the most important of the three last decades.
winds and tides
Strong gusts of wind coupled with ongoing high tides raise fears of flooding, especially as heavy rains are expected for Saturday.
In Ireland, more than 80,000 homes were also without electricity at midday, according to the local network ESB.
After the United Kingdom, Eunice must head for Denmark, where trains will be idling and the Storebaelt bridge, one of the longest in the world, will most certainly have to close almost all night, warned its operator.
In France, this storm was already causing waves four meters high in Brittany on Friday morning, underlined Météo France which placed five departments on orange alert. Gusts reached 110 km/h at Cap Gris-Nez in the North-West and could exceed 140 km/h locally on the coast in the afternoon.
The French railway company SNCF has announced disruptions on its regional lines. Rail traffic was also very disrupted in Belgium, where many schools cut the day short, as well as in northern Germany and the Netherlands.
Eunice is descending on northern Europe after that continent has already been battered by storms in recent days, with Dudley killing five in Poland and Germany on Thursday.
While climate change generally reinforces and multiplies extreme events, it is not so clear for winds and storms (excluding cyclones), the number of which varies greatly from one year to another.
The latest report from UN climate experts (IPCC) released in August estimates, with only a very low degree of certainty, that there may have been an increase in the number of storms in the Northern Hemisphere since the 1980s.