From 80mph gusts to disruption: All you need to know about Storm Eunice

Great Yarmouth is among parts of Norfolk under a yellow weather warning for high winds this weekend.

Storm Eunice is set to hit Norfolk on Friday morning with gusts of up to 90mph possible. - Credit: Archant

As Norfolk and Waveney is set to be hit by gusts of up to 80mph due to the arrival of Storm Eunice, people have been urged to stay at home if they can.

Norfolk has currently been given a amber weather warning, but parts of the UK have been issued a red weather warning - the highest level available - which means a danger to life due to falling debris.

Here's everything you need to know about Storm Eunice.

What's happened so far?

Earlier this week, Storm Dudley brought gusts of more than 60mph in parts of Norfolk.

Weybourne and Tibenham airfield saw the strongest winds on Wednesday (February 16) with gusts reaching up to 64mph. 

Emergency services, including police and fire crews, worked through the night to clear blockages and debris left by the storm.

A fallen tree has cut off power to hundreds of homes in Brandon

A fallen tree cut off power to hundreds of homes in Brandon - caused by Storm Dudley. - Credit: Suffolk Fire Service

However, a further power cut  on Thursday morning affected over 500 homes across Norfolk but partial power was restored by 11am.

Fallen trees also blocked busy roads in Brandon and Thetford.

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Rail passengers are being advised to only travel if their journey is essential, as Storm Eunice is forecast to sweep through East Anglia with gale-force winds.

What's happening with train services?

Greater Anglia is reducing its train service on Friday, February 18, as Network Rail is imposing speed restrictions across the network because of the impacts of the storm, which will also lead to longer journey times.

Further disruption may be caused by trees or other objects being blown onto tracks and overhead lines or other damage caused by the storm – which could lead to short notice cancellations or delays.

Steve Wickers, managing director at First Norfolk & Suffolk, said: “We are expecting adverse weather to fall on the region later and we are prepared and have advised our driving team to be extra vigilant when contending with driving conditions.

"Our services will continue to run to all destinations unless there is any disruption caused by storm damage to which we will keep people informed. The safety and wellbeing of our drivers and customers will always be at the forefront of our decisions in running services, so we will be watching weather developments carefully.”  

What events have been cancelled?

Love Light Norwich has been cancelled on Friday due to the predicted impact of Storm Eunice. 

However, the festival is still set to go ahead on Thursday (February 17) and Saturday (February 19) night.

Norwich-based forecaster Weatherquest said the countys coast will bear the brunt of the bad weather,

Norfolk has been issued an amber weather warning. - Credit: Archant

The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), which runs both Banham Zoo and Africa Alive!, confirmed the zoos will be closed on Friday.

Claudia Roberts, CEO of ZSEA, said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused but the safety of our visitors, animals and colleagues is our priority.

"We are very sorry for anyone who was looking forward to visiting tomorrow but there’s no need to rebook, you can use your ticket at any time in the next six months, just bring it along and present it at the entrance kiosk.”

Anyone who has a pre-booked ticket for Banham or Africa Alive will be able to use it at any time in the next six months. 

In Fakenham, Friday's horse racing card has been cancelled.

In a tweet, Fakenham Racecourse added that tickets bought online would be "refunded automatically".

When is Storm Eunice set to hit?

Storm Eunice is expected to hit parts of the UK early on Friday morning with gusts anticipated to be damaging for many, with gusts of up to 80mph possible.

The amber weather warning is in place from 5am on Friday morning and will last until 9pm in the evening.

How can I protect myself?

The Met Office has urged people to stay inside as much as possible and not to drive unless journeys are "essential".

The full guidance for what to do during the storm, which can be viewed on its website, is as follows:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible
  • If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees
  • Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences - if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side
  • Do not go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress
  • If possible, enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you
  • Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you
  • Take care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges, or high open roads, delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible
  • Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high sided vehicle
  • Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary

Norfolk Fire and Rescue had urged people who don't have to travel to stay at home.

Rain and strong winds hit Norfolk after the May bank holiday
Byline: Sonya Duncan

People have been urged to stay inside if they don't have to travel. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Stefan Rider, group manager with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Ahead of Storm Eunice, we know there is a very high chance of disruption caused by the winds: If you don’t have to travel, stay home: if you have no choice but to travel, plan your journey in advance, take into account likely disruption and try to avoid travelling during the middle of the day if possible.

"We’re expecting fallen trees to cause delays on arterial routes on the county’s highways and railways, as well as damage to powerlines, so staying off the roads and remaining indoors is by the far the best thing you can do if possible.

“Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have stood up specialist teams from our Urban Search and Rescue function to assist people in trouble and aid our partners across East Anglia to keep vital services running in the fact of disruption caused by the severe weather expected over the next 48 hours. Please report disruption to the appropriate agency, but if there is a life at risk, don’t hesitate to call 999 immediately.”

What does an amber weather warning mean?

Norfolk and Waveney has currently been issued with an amber weather warning which means that there is an increased likelihood of impacts from severe weather which could potentially disrupt plans.

People are urged to consider whether they should make alternative arrangements in preparation for the weather to get worse. 

In Devon and Wales, a red weather warning has been issued which means  "dangerous weather is expected", with it being "very likely that there will be a risk to life, with substantial disruption to travel, energy supplies and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure."

Why is Storm Eunice so bad?

A weather bomb is defined as an intense low pressure system that falls 24 millibars within a 24-hour period.

This means that a deep area of low pressure brings stormy conditions and means gale-force winds and wintry showers.

Having formed over the North Atlantic, it is set to undergo a rapid intensification as it heads towards the UK.

How does it compare to other storms?

The last time the UK had a storm that had winds over 80mph was Storm Dennis in February 2020 at 81mph.

But the Great Storm of '87 which happened in October 1987 was the highest recorded wind speed - killing at least 22 people and toppling 15 million trees. It recorded average wind speeds of up to 86mph but gusts were much higher.