UK battens down hatches as Eunice makes landfall

Flights in and out of many of the UK’s airports have been grounded after Storm Eunice made its dramatic landfall in the early hours of Friday. Travel chaos on train and road networks, and power cuts have also been reported throughout the morning.

The Met Office issued a rare red alert for Greater London, Essex, Kent, Surrey and East Sussex, urging the public to stay indoors. London has been hit by gusts of up to 100mph - more than enough to rip off swathes of the London O2 Arena roof.

Severe flood warnings, which indicate a risk to life, have been issued due to expected tidal surge, which poses high flood risk to properties along the Severn and Wye estuaries in particular. The Environment Agency issued 9 Severe Flood Warnings along the Severn and Wye due to the high risk of flooding from Avonmouth and up the Severn into Gloucestershire and along the Wye from Chepstow to Monmouth. A further 20 Flood Warnings are also in place.

Flood barriers have also been deployed further up the region in Shrewsbury, Frankwell and Beales Corner in Bewdley and officers are ready to deploy barriers at Ironbridge.

Kay Champion, area incident duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The arrival of Storm Eunice overnight on Thursday has the potential to cause severe flooding with overtopping of defences, very strong winds and high waves. There is potential for record water levels along the Severn and Wye estuary.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and working closely with our partners. Our incident response staff are checking defences.”

The Association of British Insurers has sought to reassure businesses that insurers will do everything they can to help customers recover as quickly as possible should they suffer storm damage.

Laura Hughes, manager for general insurance at the Association of British Insurers said: “Insurers expect storms to strike at any time. When bad weather hits, their priority is always to help their affected customers recover as quickly as possible - from making emergency payments, arranging any temporary emergency accommodation to getting the damage repaired. If you suffer damage to your property, contact your insurer as soon as you can for help and advice.”

Anthony Doyle, property technical claims manager at Allianz Commercial, added: “Allianz Commercial has been contacting brokers in the areas predicted to be most affected by storms Dudley and Eunice, encouraging them to share advice with customers. It has also been posting practical tips on social media on how businesses can keep their employees safe and protect their premises.”

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