Storm Eunice: ‘strong winds’ to peak on Friday and continue over weekend
Devon County Council is advising people to only travel if absolutely necessary with ‘extremely strong winds’ expected over the next few days and reaching a peak in the early hours of Friday morning.
The Met Office has escalated its Yellow Wind Warning, issued on Tuesday, to Amber.
The south west is expected to be battered by gale force winds caused by Storm Eunice – they will be at their strongest in coastal areas between 3am to 9pm on Friday morning, with gusts of 90-100mph possible.
There is an increasing likelihood of widespread inland wind gusts of 60-70 mph and up to 80 mph in a few places. Strong winds are also expected to continue over the weekend.
The Met Office says that Eunice may cause ‘significant disruption’ on the county’s roads, and that there is a good chance that flying debris could result in ‘a danger to life.’
Damage to buildings and homes is likely, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down. Roads, bridges and railway lines are likely to close, with delays and cancellations to bus, train, ferry services and flights.
The high winds are likely to result in the temporary closure of Taw Bridge, Barnstaple – so please check before you travel. If you must travel during a bridge closure please plan your journey, find a safer alternative route, and leave extra time.
And on the coast, flooding and large waves are likely. During these times people are advised to stay away from coastal paths and coastal areas as beach debris is likely to be thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties.
In preparation extra staff are being drafted into Devon County Council’s Network Operations Control Centre and extra highways teams will be ready to respond. Teams of tree-surgeons will also be on stand-by to clear any fallen trees on the county’s roads.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said:
“The Met Office has increased its alert level and Storm Eunice will make travelling conditions quite perilous for much of Friday morning and we are advising if you can avoid travelling, please do so.
“The forecast of such strong winds may well lead to fallen trees or branches, and other debris. If you must travel, please take extra care, particularly when its dark when its more difficult to see debris on the road.
“To prepare for this, extra people are being drafted to man our Highways Operations Control Centre and highways teams and tree surgeons will be on standby.
“If possible, postpone your journey until conditions improve and if you do have to travel, slow down, allow extra time for your journey and drive according to the conditions. Keep an eye on travel updates and weather forecasts and please plan your journey.”
Devon County Council is reminding people of the following advice:
• Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with poorer visibility;
• Be alert to fallen trees and branches, particularly on minor roads where they may not have been reported;
• Consider if your journey is essential and be alert to weather warnings;
• Never drive through floodwater or swollen flowing water, you don’t know how deep it is. Find an alternative route;
• Allow additional time for your journey;
• Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front and leave plenty of room if you’re overtaking;
• Drive with care and according to the conditions.
For more information and winter travel advice visit the County Council’s winter travel webpages or for updates on Twitter follow @DevonAlert