Record winds blow across Europe in worst storm in decades

Record gusts of up to 122 mph (196 km/h) were recorded in England on Friday February 18 as the UK, Ireland, Belgium and parts of the Netherlands and France face their worst storm in more than three decades.

Trees collapsed, trucks and cars flipped on their sides and thousands of homes were left without power as Storm Eunice battered coastal regions around the Atlantic Archipelago and western shores of Europe with wind, snow and heavy rain, according to the British Met Office.

The record gust, the fastest wind speed ever recorded in England, was reported at Needles Lighthouse on England’s Isle of Wight, beating the previous record of 118mph (190kph) at Gwennap Head, Cornwall , in 1979, according to the Met Office. The fastest wind speed ever recorded in the UK was recorded at the Cairngorm Summit, a Scottish mountain which experienced a gust of 173mph (278kph) in 1986.

Related: The 20 costliest and most destructive hurricanes to hit the United States

“This is provisionally the highest gust ever recorded in England,” said the UK .Met Office. wrote on Twitter.

Millions of people have been told to stay indoors as a man, a 60-year-old council worker in Ireland, was killed by a falling tree and a woman, in another incident in England, was seriously injured after being struck by a flying roof. floor tile. Three people have also been killed on UK roads after their cars were hit by debris, according to the BBC. In mainland Europe, which was hit later in the day, five people were reportedly killed by the storm.

The raging storm has left around 110,000 UK homes without power and forced schools and businesses to close. The storm also caused other widespread damage, with record high winds shredding the fabric roof of London’s O2 arena, blowing off part of a cathedral spire and even toppling the central tower of a power station .

The roof of the 02 Arena in London was torn apart by the storm. (Image credit: Rob Pinney via Getty Images)

Despite the storm’s devastation, scientists have warned against the precipitation to link its severity to climate change. Peter Thorne, professor of climate science at Maynooth University in Ireland, wrote on Twitter that while climate change makes coastal storm surges and extreme rainfall more likely during storms like Eunice, there is little evidence of worsening winds themselves. Moreover, climatologists have long explained that currently they cannot link a single event to climate change.

“There are already enough serious and obvious impacts of climate change without proverbially overstating the pudding and tying every event to climate change,” Thorne added.

Suzanne Gray, a storm researcher at the University of Reading, says further damage and potential loss of life can occur if the storm forms a “stinging jet”, a rare weather phenomenon that occurs when a narrow ribbon of air descends at speeds of over 100 mph (160 km/h), creating an air corridor 6–12 miles wide (10–20 kilometres). The last time a jet formed in the UK was during the Great Storm of 1987, which claimed 18 lives.

The record-breaking storm has also brought unexpected popularity to a live YouTube channel that shows planes landing at London’s Heathrow Airport. Friday, for several hours, Big Jet TV drew more than 200,000 live viewers from its direct passenger jets attempting rather hairy landings in 70mph (113kph) winds. Streamer and amateur aviation enthusiast Jerry Dyer, who runs the channel, urged pilots to shouting “go my son”, “fair play mate” and “bosh!” as they disembarked.

Originally posted on Live Science.

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