UPDATED: Storm Eunice batters England and Ireland, warning issued for London, 456 flights to and from UK cancelled

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PORTHLEVEN, England, Feb 18  – An Atlantic storm battered southern Britain and Ireland with winds of up to 100 miles per hour on Friday, uprooting trees, stranding travellersand hammering London.

Aviation analytics firm Cirium said at least 436 flights to, from or within the UK were cancelled on Friday.

The highest proportion was at Heathrow, where 20% of flights were cancelled.

This was followed by London City (16%) and Manchester (10%)

Due  to Storm Eunice this afternoon, Network Rail has confirmed that no more trains will arrive or depart from London Euston on Friday.

A statement said: “All lines are suspended affecting services between Euston and Milton Keynes until further notice.

“The message to passengers is ‘DO NOT TRAVEL’ today as the railway network is being battered by gale force winds.

“Rapid response teams are clearing fallen trees and debris which are blocking lines in multiple locations on the West Coast main line.”

Earlier, Network Rail told the BBC it was likely all train services would be cancelled at London’s main stations as the worst of Storm Eunice passes through the capital.

Storm Eunice, which began in the central Atlantic and was spun up from the Azores towards Europe by the jet stream, posed a danger to life, Britain’s Meteorological Office said.

The storm hit western England, making landfall in Cornwall, where waves lashed the coast, sending plumes of spray over the roofs of cottages, Reuters pictures showed.

“Storm Eunice is really packing a punch,” Met Office Chief Meteorologist Frank Saunders said. “We only issue red weather warnings when we think there is a threat to life from the weather.”

Roofs were blown off, schools closed and travellers and authorities forced to cancel flights, ferries and trains across England and southern Wales. London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged Londoners to stay at home.

Gale force winds were recorded across the southern English coast with warnings of large waves. Many schools were closed. Trains were cancelled or running slow. London City Airport said 64 flights had been cancelled.

“Safety is our number one priority, and we’re cancelling a number of flights,” BA said. “We’re expecting extreme weather conditions at airports across the UK as a result of Storm Eunice, which will cause significant disruption.”

Danish ferry operator DFDS DFDS.CO said in a statement posted on Twitter that its ferries between Dover and Calais have been suspended due to high winds.

Such red warnings are relatively rare. The last one issued was in November 2021. Scotland has issued yellow warnings for heavy snow.

The British government will hold a COBR emergency response meeting to discuss the response to the storm.

Britain’s security minister, Damian Hinds, said troops were on standby to deal with the consequences of the weather.

“We should all follow the advice and take precautions to keep safe,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “I thank responders for all their efforts.”

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Additional reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Kate Holton and Barbara Lewis)

Photo – A mother pushes her child past a fallen tree brought down by strong winds during Storm Eunice in London, Britain, 18 February 2022. .EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

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