Millions of people were barricaded on Friday as Storm Eunice ravaged Britain with record-breaking storms, leaving the streets of London deserted and causing delays to airlines, railways, and ferries across European countries.
The UK capital has issued its first "red" weather alert, indicating a "threat to life." The same status of warning was in effect throughout southern England and South Wales, where schools and colleges were closed and public transportation was blocked.
As massive waves crashed over sea barriers around the coast, Eunice knocked out electricity to 80,000 residential and commercial buildings in Ireland and more than 5,000 in Cornwall and Devon, southwest England.
The United Kingdom government reported a storm surge of 196 kilometers per hour on the Isle of Wight off the coast of southern England, which was "provisionally the strongest storm ever observed in England."
The powerful storms destroyed a major portion of the roof of the Millennium Dome in southeast London, and all railways in Wales, western England, and Kent in southeast England were halted. Snowfall is also expected across Scotland and northern England, according to the British Forecast Department.
Even while the conditions remained stormy in the region of northern England, employees at the Tan Hill Inn, Britain's tallest pub in Yorkshire, were busy getting ready. But now that the snow is falling and the wind is raining, we're battening down the gates, gearing ourselves for a horrible day and even worse night, "bar maintenance worker Angus Leslie said.
With accumulated strength in a "sting jet," an uncommon weather phenomenon that caused problems in Britain during the "Great Storm" of 1987 and prompted a red-alert warning in the Netherlands.
The Brittany coastline in northwest France was hammered by high seas. Prolonged and regular trains were progressively halted in northern Germany, with similar warnings issued in Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden.
Boats and other ferries across the Mediterranean, the world's largest shipping waterway, as well as aircraft from northern Europe's aviation centers, were first delayed, then canceled. Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed at Heathrow and Gatwick airports in London, as well as Schiphol in Amsterdam.
One easyJet aircraft from Bordeaux was forced to go back to Bordeaux after two attempted landings at Gatwick.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has ordered the British army to stand by, said on Twitter, "We should all heed the advice and take steps to stay safe." Roofs might be blown off, trees damaged, and power lines knocked to the ground across southern Britain, according to the Met Office. Bus and boat services were widely delayed or canceled, and high bridges for crossings were blocked to traffic.
In the interests of public safety, Prince Charles has postponed a trip to South Wales, his office said. The RAC breakdown service said it was receiving an unusually low number of callouts on Britain's main street roads.
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