The second major storm in three days swept through northern Europe on Friday (local time), killing at least nine people as high winds downed trees, canceled train services and ripped sections of the roof off the ‘O2 Arena in London.
The UK Met Service said a gust provisionally measured at 196km/h, believed to be the strongest on record in England, was recorded on the Isle of Wight as Storm Eunice swept across the south of the country.
The weather system, known as Storm Zeynep in Germany, is now entering the European continent, prompting high wind warnings in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany.
The storm caused chaos with travel in Britain, shutting down the English Channel port of Dover, shutting bridges between England and Wales and stopping most trains to and from London.
At least three people have died in Britain, including a man in southern England killed when a car hit a tree, another man whose windscreen was hit by debris in the northwest of England and a woman in her 30s who died in London when a tree fell on a car, police said.
In the Netherlands, firefighters said three people were killed by falling trees in and around Amsterdam, and a fourth died in the northern province of Groningen after driving his car into a fallen tree .
In neighboring Belgium, an elderly man died when high winds blew him into a canal in Ypres. In County Wexford, Ireland, a local government worker was killed while responding to the scene of a fallen tree, the local council has said.
Even before Britain was hit hard by the storm, Eunice brought travel to southern England and Wales to a halt with many rail services halted and many flights and ferry services cancelled. A number of tourist attractions in England, including the London Eye, Legoland and Warwick Castle, closed ahead of the storm, as did all of London’s royal parks.
In the town of Wells, in south-west England, the wind toppled the spire of a 19th century church. In London, high winds ripped sections of roof off the 02 Arena, a landmark on the south bank of the River Thames that was originally known as the Millennium Dome. Firefighters evacuated 1,000 people from the area.
The storm was expected to hit northern Germany later Friday and sweep east overnight. A flood warning was issued for the German North Sea coast on Friday. Meteorologists warned Friday’s storm could cause more damage than the previous weather system, which triggered crashes that killed at least three people, toppled trees and damaged roofs and train tracks.
Germany’s largest rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, on Friday canceled all train services in the north of the country due to the storm.
Eunice is the second named storm to hit Europe this week, with the first killing at least five people in Germany and Poland.