Millions of Britons were urged to cancel travel plans and stay indoors Friday amid fears of high winds and flying debris as the second major storm this week prompted a rare “red” weather warning across southern England.
Storm Eunice is likely to cause significant disruption and dangerous conditions, with gusts that may exceed 145 kph in highly exposed coastal areas, the U.K.’s weather forecasting office said.
The Met Office issued “red” warnings – indicating a danger to life – for parts of southwest England between 7 a.m. and noon and for southeast England and London from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
A lower level amber warning for gusts up to 129 kph covers the whole of England from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“After the impacts from Storm Dudley for many on Wednesday, Storm Eunice will bring damaging gusts in what could be one of the most impactful storms to affect southern and central parts of the U.K. for a few years,” Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said. “The red warning areas indicate a significant danger to life as extremely strong winds provide the potential for damage to structures and flying debris.”
The government is set to hold a meeting of its COBRA emergency committee meeting to discuss the storm later Friday.
The Environment Agency has issued 10 severe flood warnings, another indicator of life-threatening weather conditions.
A number of tourist attractions in England, including the London Eye, Legoland and Warwick Castle are temporarily closing.
“I urge all Londoners to stay at home, do not take risks, and do not travel unless it is absolutely essential,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said.
Train operators across Britain also urged passengers to avoid traveling Friday.
British Airways warned of delays at London’s Heathrow Airport because the wind has reduced the rate at which aircraft are permitted to land.
“High winds and poor weather may cause last-minute delays, but we will do everything in our power to minimize any disruption that results,” the airline said.
The government highway agency said high-sided vehicles and other “vulnerable” vehicles such as caravans and motorbikes could be blown over so should avoid bridges and viaducts.
Anyone traveling should “plan your trip and take extra care, allowing more time for your journey,” said Jeremy Phillips, head of road safety for the National Highways agency.
“In the event of persistent high winds, we may need to close bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow signed diversion routes,” he added.