Storm Eunice: Bishop's Stortford area covered by new red 'danger to life' warning for wind issued by Met Office
The Bishop's Stortford area has been included in a second Met Office red 'danger to life' warning – the highest level – for wind as Storm Eunice advances on Friday (Feb 19).
The alert, issued at 3.44am, covers London, the South East and parts of the East of England from 10am to 3pm, and warns of significant disruption and dangerous conditions due to extremely strong gusts of up to 80mph.
Residents can expect:
- flying debris resulting in danger to life
- damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down
- roads, bridges and railway lines closed, with delays and cancellations to bus and train services and flights,
- and power cuts affecting other services, such as mobile phone coverage.
The Met Office yesterday issued a red warning covering south-west England and southern Wales with an amber warning covering the rest of the country from 5am to 9pm. Essex Weather Centre says the main reason for the amber to red upgrade overnight was confidence levels. "Impacts and wind speeds [are] in line with earlier guidance," it tweeted.
Motorists and train passengers are being advised to travel only if it is essential. Train operator Greater Anglia has cut back services.
A Hertfordshire County Council spokesman said: "We are advising residents to stay at home where possible and avoid making unnecessary journeys. If you do have to travel, please take extra care and allow extra time for your journey. If you are planning to use public transport, please check for disruption before you travel."
Its highways department and fire and rescue service will be standing by to respond to incidents.
The spokesman added: "We may need to close some of our pavements, roads or bridges as precautionary steps to keep our residents and the travelling public safe.
"Our crews will work as quickly as possible to clear and reopen roads and pavements, however this might take a while if there are a large number of incidents as we will need to prioritise the most hazardous incidents.
"We expect our buildings and services, such as libraries and recycling centres, to be open as usual, but we would ask residents to avoid making unnecessary visits."
You can report fallen trees on roads in Hertfordshire at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/faultreporting. Herts Fire and Rescue Service says: "Please only call us if there is a life risk, anyone has been trapped or injured by a fallen tree, or a fire risk – i.e. a tree fallen onto electrical cables."
Power cuts and fallen power lines should be reported to UK Power Networks by calling 105. In an emergency, or if there is a risk to life, call 999.
Driving conditions will be dangerous for vulnerable vehicles such as high-sided HGVs, caravans and motorbikes which could be blown over by exceptional side winds or hit by flying debris. The Queen Elizabeth II bridge at the Dartford Crossing is closed. Southbound traffic can use the east tunnel instead; the west tunnel will remain open to northbound traffic.
Greater Anglia, which operates trains on the London-Cambridge line through Bishop's Stortford, is bringing in a reduced timetable. Speed restrictions have been imposed by Network Rail to protect railway infrastructure.
Half-hourly services will run between Liverpool Street and Cambridge, Bishop's Stortford and Stratford, and on the Stansted Express between the airport and the capital. Two lines – Marks Tey to Sudbury and Ipswich to Lowestoft – will be closed all day and trains suspended.
Uttlesford District Council warns Friday's scheduled bin collections could be disrupted. The following areas could be affected: Stansted, Elsenham, Quendon and Rickling, Manuden, Farnham, Clavering, Berden, the Hallingburys, Hatfield Broad Oak, Hatfield Heath, White Roding and Leaden Roding.
It is asking residents in these villages to consider waiting until the next collection if their recycling bins are only half full; to put out bins in the morning, not tonight; not to leave bins near the road; and to take bins back in as soon as possible after collection.
East Herts Council added: "Please remember to bring your bins back in ASAP after they are emptied to avoid them blowing over into roads and shelter them from the wind by a wall if possible to prevent them falling over."
Audley End House and Gardens, near Saffron Walden, which has been running Explorer Quest sessions for all the family throughout this half-term week, and Hatfield Forest are closed.
Storm Eunice comes 48 hours after Storm Dudley, which saw strong winds disrupt travel in large sections of the north.
In Bishop's Stortford on Wednesday evening, high winds caused a tree to fall onto a 25-year-old Heron Court resident's Vauxhall Corsa while it was parked next to the railway line and Sworder's Field. The car's roof and bonnet were dented and its front windscreen was smashed.
And East Herts police tweeted: "We're having multiple calls about trees coming down due to the weather. Please take extra care if you're driving in the rural parts of East Herts this evening."
- Ensure loose items around your home and on balconies, like garden furniture, are secured or safely stored away
- Stay inside where possible – if you must travel, take extra care, allow yourself extra time
- If you need to travel, be aware of areas where you are likely to be exposed to side winds or falling debris
- Don’t shelter under trees
- If a tree has fallen, report it via www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/faultreporting
- Firefighters are prepared and trained to deal with severe weather, including high winds, but please call 999 only in a genuine emergency
- If you have a power cut, take extra care with candles. Place them in fire-resistant holders on a flat, stable surface where they won’t be knocked over. Make sure you put them out when you leave the room
- Check on your neighbours, particularly those who are vulnerable.