Severe winter storms batter Europe

2022-02-21 09:55:00China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Many United Kingdom residents were without power on Sunday after one of the strongest storms in decades battered their nation, and with warnings of a new wave of extreme weather heading their way.

Storm Eunice, with winds of up to 200 km per hour, ripped the roof off the iconic O2 Arena in London on Friday before heading into the European mainland on Saturday, where it caused more devastation.

The storm, which toppled church spires, felled trees, devastated public transport, and killed at least three people in the UK and no fewer than 16 throughout Europe, was so severe, weather forecasters issued an extremely rare 'red warning' in the UK ahead of it making landfall.

Greg Dewhurst, a spokesperson for the UK's national weather service known as the Met Office, told the BBC the continuing strong winds and extremely heavy rain on Sunday and Monday, called Storm Franklin, would feature gusts of up to 113 km per hour and "have an impact on the clearing up process" following Storm Eunice.

Simon Partridge, a forecaster at the Met Office, told The Guardian newspaper: "Eunice is gone, but unfortunately things are not settling down … There is not a great deal of respite in terms of lighter winds at all this week."

The Energy Networks Association, which represents energy providers in the UK and Ireland, said around 155,000 customers remained without electricity on Saturday night because of the storm.

It said around 1.22 million homes had, however, been reconnected to the national grid after having been temporarily without power due to the storm.

Energy company Western Power Distribution said the most widespread power cut ever recorded in the UK hit southwest England, where 461,000 homes were affected.

Operations Director Graham Halladay told Sky News: "Storm Eunice has brought some of worst conditions we have ever seen. It is truly unprecedented."

The Agence France-Presse news service said around 1 million homes in Poland were also without power on Saturday afternoon because of the storm.

Most UK train operators suspended services on Friday and Saturday but had largely resumed normal operations by Sunday.

After more than 500 flights into and out of the UK were cancelled on Friday and Saturday, timetables at airports had also started to return to normal by Sunday.

Ferry services between the UK and the European mainland were also suspended on Friday because of the storm but mainly back to normal on Saturday.

Mohammad Khan, an insurance expert at PwC UK, told the BBC payouts for damage caused by the storm could range between 200 million pounds ($272 million) and 350 million pounds.

In the European mainland, the storm also led to loss of life in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Poland.

The Netherlands coastguard services said winds had been strong enough to blow 26 empty shipping containers into the North Sea.

Sky News said Storm Franklin, while marginally less severe than Storm Eunice, is expected to bring "gale force westerly winds with severe and damaging gusts" on Sunday and Monday that will combine with "very high seas" to pose a serious risk of coastal flooding.


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