Storm Eunice: Live updates as thousands of Leeds homes without power, travel disrupted and buildings damaged

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Storm Eunice has caused travel chaos on the roads, on the railway and in the skies above Leeds as flights were grounded and incoming planes were forced to divert.

Thousands of homes in the city have been hit by power cuts, while others have been damaged by the force of the winds seen this afternoon and in the early evening. Follow our live blog below and refresh the page for the latest updates.

Storm Eunice: Power cuts, Leeds flights diverted, cladding blown off building

TransPennine Express urging against travel on Friday

TransPennine Express is urging customers across its network not to travel tomorrow, with Storm Eunice likely to cause significant disruption.

With weather warnings in place and strong winds expected across the North and into Scotland, emergency speed restrictions are being put in place by Network Rail and TPE will be operating a minimal train plan.

As a result of the disruption, the train company is strongly urging customers to instead travel on today or on Saturday.

Tickets for Friday February 18 will be valid on TPE services today and Saturday February 19, or a full refund can be obtained at tpexpress.co.uk/help/refunds with no admin fee.

Operations director Paul Watson said: “Storm Eunice will be the second storm to impact our services this week and it is likely to cause major disruption to train services, right across the North of England and into Scotland.

“The most important thing is that our customers and staff are kept safe and we are urging customers not to travel by train on Friday February 18. We are instead asking customers to make their journeys on either Thursday February 17 or Saturday February 19.

“The situation with the weather is changing all the time, and customers should continue to check our website or National Rail Enquires for the latest information.”

More information and the latest updates on the situation can be found on the TPE website at www.tpexpress.co.uk/travel-updates or at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Railway line between Leeds and Skipton reopens

Northern says the line between Leeds and Skipton has now reopened, but some services may still be cancelled or delayed as things get back to normal.

A section of the line between Shipley and Skipton had been blocked since yesterday afternoon when a tree fell onto the line near Keighley, causing damage to overhead cables.

Cancellations and delays to Northern services expected

Drivers urged to take caution

Analysis by insurer Zurich UK shows road accidents leap by a third during extreme weather.

Julie Watson, Zurich’s Head of Motor, said: “High winds, snow and rain from Storm Eunice are likely to make driving conditions extremely hazardous. Our data shows claims for road traffic accidents leapt by more than a third (35%) during November’s Storm Arwen, the last major weather event to batter the UK. Flying debris or falling trees resulted in a 17% spike in motor claims.

“These figures highlight the heightened risks on the road during severe weather events. Drivers could be twice as likely to make a claim for a crash in severe weather, as they are for storm damage to their vehicle. We would urge people to take extreme care if they choose to travel. Drivers who do head out should stick to major routes, reduce their speed and take a firm grip of the wheel. We also suggest people park their vehicle in a garage or away from trees, if possible.”

National Highways issues a severe weather warning as Storm Eunice approaches

Drivers are advised that Storm Eunice is expected to create severe driving conditions across much of England and a significant risk to vehicles in the South West, where National Highways has issued a Red Alert for gales in addition to a Met Office Red National Severe Weather Warning.

Yellow, amber and red Met Office warnings for wind have been issued in England for the storm, which is going to impact large parts of the country tomorrow (Friday).

The National Highways Red Alert relates to the South West between 8am and 11am tomorrow. Exceptionally strong winds are predicted around the Bristol Channel peaking tomorrow morning with 70mph – 80mph gusts, possibly reaching 90mph over the Avonmouth and Severn Bridges.

This will lead to dangerous driving conditions for vulnerable vehicles with exceptional sidewinds and wind-blown debris. Road users are advised to avoid travel unless it’s essential.

There’s a particularly high risk that high-sided vehicles and other vulnerable vehicles such as caravans and motorbikes could be blown over and National Highways, in conjunction with the Met Office, strongly advises these types of vehicles avoid the Severn Crossing, the M4 junction 22 to M5 junction 18, Stroud to M4, Avonmouth Bridge, and Clevedon to Bridgwater.

Severe weather warnings issued as Storm Eunice approaches

Drivers are advised that Storm Eunice is expected to create severe driving conditions across much of England and a significant risk to vehicles in the South West, where National Highways has issued a Red Alert for gales in addition to a Met Office Red National Severe Weather Warning.

Yellow, amber and red Met Office warnings for wind have been issued in England for the storm, which is going to impact large parts of the country tomorrow (Friday). The National Highways Red Alert relates to the South West between 8am and 11am tomorrow. Exceptionally strong winds are predicted around the Bristol Channel peaking tomorrow morning with 70mph – 80mph gusts, possibly reaching 90mph over the Avonmouth and Severn Bridges.

This will lead to dangerous driving conditions for vulnerable vehicles with exceptional sidewinds and wind-blown debris. Road users are advised to avoid travel unless it’s essential.

There’s a particularly high risk that high-sided vehicles and other vulnerable vehicles such as caravans and motorbikes could be blown over and National Highways, in conjunction with the Met Office, strongly advises these types of vehicles avoid the Severn Crossing, the M4 junction 22 to M5 junction 18, Stroud to M4, Avonmouth Bridge, and Clevedon to Bridgwater.

There’s a high likelihood of both Severn Crossings being closed tomorrow, with an impact on access into Wales via the M5 north and M50 south.

While Storm Eunice’s strongest winds will be in the south, there’s an amber warning for wind in the north and a yellow warning for snow. Up to 20cm of snow could gather over high ground, with less significant accumulations in the lower ground. Brisk winds could create blizzard-like conditions and drifting of lying snow.

This comes soon after the impact of Storm Dudley, which saw strong winds disrupt travel in large sections of the north, including a blockage caused by a fallen tree on the A64 and the closure of the A66 to high-sided vehicles.

National Highways Head of Road Safety, Jeremy Phillips, said:

“For those who do travel, we’re encouraging drivers to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys and consider if their journey is necessary and can be delayed until conditions improve. If you do intend to travel, then plan your trip and take extra care, allowing more time for your journey.

“In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down.

“Drivers of other vehicles should be aware of sudden gusts of wind which can affect handling and braking, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, and motorbikes plenty of space. 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.”

Northern warns passengers ‘Do Not Travel’ on Friday in light of Storm Eunice

People in Leeds have been warned not to travel by train on Friday due to Storm Eunice.

Train operator, Northern, has told passengers ‘do not travel’’ as significant disruption is expected to rail services caused by the adverse weather.

Delays and cancellations are highly likely.

Commenting on the disruption to services, Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: “Storm Eunice will cause widespread disruption across the network tomorrow, affecting all operators in the region.

“As such, we are advising passengers not to travel and to consider whether the journey is necessary.”

Northern operates around 2,000 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

Amber warning issued throughout Yorkshire

Councils open homeless shelters and halt bin collections as storm set to hit

A number of councils across the UK are to help shelter homeless people and halt bin collections with Storm Eunice set to batter the country on Friday.

With the storm approaching, some local authorities have activated their Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that shelters are being opened on Thursday evening for people who are sleeping rough.

The scheme usually operates when temperatures drop to below freezing.

The protocol compels councils and homelessness charities to open emergency accommodation for people who are sleeping rough during weather conditions that could pose a threat to their lives.

Public urged to stay at home as Storm Eunice approaches

Residents are being urged to stay at home and the Army has been placed on standby as the UK prepares for the arrival of Storm Eunice.

A red weather warning – the highest alert, meaning a high impact is very likely – has been issued by the Met Office due to the combination of high tides, strong winds and storm surge, which is understood to be a rare event for the UK.

The Met Office said there is a risk of “flying debris resulting in danger to life” and “damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down”.

The warning covers the coastline of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset as well as the south coast of Wales and will be in effect from 7am until 12pm on Friday.

Amber warnings, the second highest alert level, for wind are in place across the whole of England from 5am to 9pm on Friday, while yellow weather warnings, the next level down, for wind and snow are in force for a large part of Scotland – where blizzards are predicted – and the whole of Northern Ireland.

Severe and significant flooding may also take place along the coastlines of the South and West of England as spring tides are expected on Friday morning.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the Army is on standby to help those affected by Storm Eunice.

Storm postpones Leeds Valentine’s Fun Fair

Weather warnings have been put in place across the country as the storm is set to bring severe gales.

The Met Office has issued a rare red weather warning for some southern parts of the country, where the most significant gusts in exposed areas could be in excess of 90mph from early Friday morning.

The Leeds Valentine’s Fun Fair was scheduled to open from Friday, February 18 to Sunday, February 27.

However, it has been put back a day until 12pm on Saturday February 19.

It will be open to the public in Victoria Gardens, Cookridge Street and Millennium Square.

Speaking on behalf of International Funfairs who bring in the rides for the famous fair, Roger Tuby said: “The safety of our guests and staff is of the utmost importance.

“We are in position and ready to open but the impending storm just means we will have to delay our opening for a day due to the weather and to also conduct safety checks before we finally open to the public.

“We’ve waited 24 months to bring this fair back and are so excited to be back in the heart of the City and plan to open some of our fantastic rides and attractions just a day later.”

The Leeds Valentines Fair opening has been delayed due to Storm Eunice.

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