Transport network faces severe disruption as Storm Eunice hits London
From the early hours of this morning Storm Eunice has hit the UK, bringing with it winds of up to 100mph and causing disruption all over the country.
Following yesterday’s warning, the Met Office raised another red alert today, adding the South East and London.
“These are rare, we only issue them when there is a threat to life from the weather,” said Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin. “We’ve never issued one before across London and the South East.”
Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted urging Londoners to avoid taking risks and stay home. “City Hall remains in close contact with key agencies across the capital as our city responds to Storm Eunice,” he said. “Londoners: please stay at home, do not take risks, and do not travel unless its absolutely necessary.”
The capital’s transport network has been severely disrupted, with services facing cancellations or severe delays.
Almost all Tube lines are currently facing delays and suspensions because of obstruction on trucks. The Bakerloo, Circle and Piccadilly lines have reported severe delays, while the District, Hammersmith and City are now part suspended.
Good services continue to run on the Jubilee, Victoria and Waterloo and City lines.
National Highways issued a severe weather alert between 6am and 6pm, adding that caravans and motorbikes could be blown over because of the winds.
“In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down,” Jeremy Phillips, head of road safety at National Highways, told the Evening Standard.
Phillips’ comments follow yesterday’s advice from automotive service company RAC, who called on drivers to avoid trips this weekend, City A.M. reported.
“It’s vitally important drivers don’t set out during Storm Eunice unless it can’t be avoided,” said RAC’s breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis. “It might be better to make trips today or delay them until the worst of the storm has passed.
“Drivers who make unnecessary journeys risk putting themselves and their passengers in danger, as well as the lives of anyone who may need to help them should something unwanted happen.”
Food delivery apps Uber Eat and Deliveroo have suspended services to avoid putting their drivers to risk, Metro reported.
“In the interest of keeping riders safe, Deliveroo’s service is not available in London and the South East or Wales, and areas of the South West, at the moment due to the red weather warning and adverse conditions,” a Deliveroo spokesperson told the outlet. “We will continue to monitor the situation and remain in close contact with our partners and riders to let them know when we plan to reopen these areas.”
Rail operators – including Avanti West Coast, Thameslink and Southern – have urged passengers to replan the journeys and only travel if absolutely necessary, saying they will maintain a speed of 50mph for safety reasons.
“Rail travel across Britain is extremely challenging, with services to and from London Waterloo suspended after large numbers of trees blocked tracks across our Wessex route,” said Network Rail via Twitter while Avanti West Coast has asked commuters to be “patient and kind” with staff.
South Western Railway said that, following multiple incidents caused by the gusts of wind, it would suspend services until 6pm.
“We would like to apologise to our customers for the impact this will have on their journeys, but – as always – our primary concern is the safety and welfare of customers and colleagues out on the network.”
More than 436 flights have been cancelled in the UK, with much more expected to come in the next few hours. With 20 per cent of cancellations, Heathrow ranked first but was closely followed by London City airport, which totalled 16 per cent.
According to people at the airport, several planes have tried landing but were forced to desist because of weather conditions.
“Storm Eunice is forecast to cause poor weather conditions across the UK and Europe today. We are working in close collaboration with our airport partners to minimise any disruption,” the airport tweeted.
“We have additional colleagues on-hand in the terminals to support our passengers, and we are working in close collaboration with our airline and air traffic control partners to get people safely away on their journeys as quickly as possible.”
Heathrow is not the only London-hub to be impacted by the extreme weather conditions. Gatwick said this morning that its inter-terminal shuttle was ceasing operations from 12pm and be replaced by a bus.
“Please follow signage and allow extra time for your journey, and check your flight status with your airline before travelling to Gatwick.”