Storm Eunice: Four killed, millions under stay-at-home order across Europe

At least four people were killed on Friday while several continue to remain under severe weather warning as Storm Eunice battered Western Eu...

At least four people were killed on Friday while several continue to remain under severe weather warning as Storm Eunice battered Western Europe.

The UK weather service said a gust provisionally measured at 122 mph, thought to be the strongest ever in England was recorded on the Isle of Wight. The weather system, known as Storm Zeynep in Germany, is now pushing into the European mainland, prompting high wind warnings in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany.

Firefighters said three people were killed by falling trees in and around Amsterdam. In County Wexford, Ireland, a local government worker was killed as he responded to the scene of a fallen tree, the local council said.

The storm made landfall with a speed of 123 km per hour near the Dutch coast on Friday. It has forced Dutch carrier KLM to cancel more than 200 flights. All trains and buses were cancelled.

Authorities have ordered schools to remain shut, and drivers have been warned to stay off the roads.

Meanwhile, UK officials have ordered millions to stay at home as the storm pummelled the country's coastal regions.

Waves hits Porthleven on the Cornish coast, Britain, as Storm Eunice makes landfall. (AP)

Eunice is the second named storm to hit Europe this week, with the first storm killing at least five people in Germany and Poland. Peter Inness, a meteorologist at the University of Reading in England, attributed the storms to an unusually strong jet stream over the eastern Atlantic Ocean, with winds close to 200 mph at high altitudes.

"A strong jet stream like this can act like a production line for storms, generating a new storm every day or two," Inness said. "There have been many occasions in the recent past when two or more damaging storms have passed across the UK and other parts of Europe in the space of a few days."

The forecast led British authorities to take the unusual step of issuing "red" weather warnings — indicating a danger to life — for parts of southern England, including London, and Wales that lasted through early afternoon. A lower level amber warning for gusts up to 80 mph covers the whole of England from 5 am to 9 pm.

A bizarre video showed posted on Twitter showed a plane struggling to land due to the poor weather at London's Heathrow airport.

Germany's biggest rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, cancelled all train services in the north of the country on Friday due to the storm.

In the Netherlands, authorities sent a push alert to mobile phone users on Friday afternoon, warning them to stay indoors.

The Dutch weather institute earlier issued its highest warning, code red, for coastal regions and code orange for much of the rest of the low-lying nation. The country’s rail company said it would halt all trains nationwide from 2 pm. (1300 GMT). The airline KLM cancelled dozens of flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

In The Hague, high winds tore off part of the roof of soccer club ADO The Hague’s stadium. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

At Scheveningen beach in The Hague, authorities built walls of sand to protect beachfront bars from the storm, even as dozens of surfers braved the weather in search of storm-driven waves.

In Denmark, strong winds prompted authorities to ban light vehicles from crossing the Storebælt tunnel and bridge linking the central island of Funen to Zealand, home to the capital, Copenhagen.

Storm Eunice has produced heightened concern because it has the potential to produce a “sting jet,” a small area of intense winds that may exceed 100 mph.

According to scientists, damage caused by such storms has increased because rainfall has become more intense as a result of human-caused climate change.

With inputs from agencies

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