BRITAIN has today been battered by killer 122mph winds – stronger than the gales of the Great Storm of 1987 – and there's MORE to come.
Storm Eunice wreaked destruction in just hours, downing power lines and uprooting trees with Brits told to stay at home in urgent alerts.
The severe conditions, which sparked two rare red weather warnings, include "danger to life" alerts with roads shut and airports cancelling hundreds of flights amid the chaos.
The Isle of Wight this morning recorded wind gusts of 122mph – even stronger than the Great Storm of 1987 when 18 people were killed.
The gales are believed to be the highest ever recorded in England, with only two stronger gusts recorded in Scotland in 1989 and 1986.
Now, soldiers are bracing for deployment in hardest hit regions with Brits hunkering down at home as they are told to avoid travel and work from home where possible.
Thousands have been hit by power outages, with 55,000 homes in Ireland and 85,000 across England and Wales in the dark.
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Forecasters initially issued amber warnings for wind, but these were today upgraded to red following the destruction caused by Storm Dudley on Wednesday.
Now, soldiers are bracing for deployment in hardest hit regions, and Brits have been told to travel only if "absolutely necessary" and to work from home where possible.
The two red warnings for wind are in force for southern England – one covering the south east from Ipswich to Portsmouth, including London, and the other stretching from Cardiff down to the furthest tip of Cornwall.
It is the first time such a warning has been issued in the capital, sparking Sadiq Khan to urge Brits to batten down the hatches and stay inside.
He said: "Storm Eunice will bring damaging winds which pose a risk to life today.
"Please stay at home, do not take risks, and do not travel unless absolutely essential."
The rare highest alert – meaning a high impact is very likely – was issued just before 4am to run from 10am until 3pm today.
Storm Eunice latest…
- An emergency Cobra meeting has been called today in response to the red warnings
- Motorists are warned to NOT travel by RAC unless absolutely necessary
- All trains in Wales cancelled for Friday
- Schools are closed as pupils are told to stay at home
- A man died falling of a HGV lorry last night during Storm Dudley
- Storm Eunice is set to be the worst storm UK has seen in years
- Brits bracing for 100mph winds and 8inches snow in the north
- Network Rail said disruption is 'inevitable'
- Met Office upgraded storm to red warning – bringing 'danger to life'
- Urgent airport warnings are issued and flights CANCELLED as Storm Eunice wreaks havoc on half-term travel
- Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures, Longleat and London Eye are closed on Friday because of severe weather
- Thirteen pedigree dogs were electrocuted to death after a falling power line crashed onto a kennel
The conditions are so bad they have rivalled those seen during the Great Storm of 1987.
Rapidly developing Eunice has a similar structure to the "bomb cyclone" 35 years ago, which brought 120mph winds and killed 18 people.
Storm scientist Dr Ambrogio Volonté, of the University of Reading, told The Telegraph: "It was the sting jet that caused the catastrophic damage associated with the ‘87 storm.
"Eunice, in particular, started its growth in a particularly favourable region for storm development, on the right side of the entrance of the strongest part of this jet stream – an area meteorologists call the ‘jet streak’."
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The phenomenon was first discovered in 2003 by academics analysing satellite images and weather data.
They found a 'sting' occurs when there's evaporation at the tip of a certain type of cloud feature and a stream of strong winds of 100mph or more to the ground.
The cloud, hooked like a scorpion's tail, is where the anomaly gets its name.
Relative to the size of the storm, the sting jet is very narrow – only about 30 miles across – and tends to last just three or four hours.
However, it brings exceptionally strong and destructive winds.
Today is the first time red warnings have been issued since Storm Arwen in November last year, second to the Beast from the East in 2018.
But as well as some areas turning red, an amber warning covers almost the entirety of England, while yellow wind warnings are in place for north-eastern England, south-western Scotland and the east coast of Northern Ireland.
BRACE FOR IMPACT
The storm is expected to bring almost 28ft waves along the coast of south west England, experts at the University of Portsmouth said.
Ten severe flood warnings, 26 flood warnings and 93 flood alerts are in force in England, while Wales has 113 warnings and 23 alerts in place.
In Scotland, there are 10 warnings and four alerts.
On top of the wind, two yellow warnings for snow cover the north of England Scotland and Northern Ireland until 6pm today.
All the predictions have prompted an emergency Cobra meeting this afternoon where ministers will thrash out a response to the mega gale.
Eunice is the second storm to hit the UK in a week after Dudley left thousands of homes without power in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland.
Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: "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 UK for a few years.
"The red warning areas indicate a significant danger to life as extremely strong winds provide the potential for damage to structures and flying debris."
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