LONDON — Strong winds battered parts of Britain and Northern Europe on Friday, as a severe storm led to the deaths of at least seven people in the region, damaged buildings and severely disrupted travel by air, land and sea.
The storm, called Eunice, tore into roofs, flung debris through streets, wobbled planes in the skies and led the British authorities to issue a rare weather safety warning for London. Britain’s national weather service, the Meteorological Office, said a wind gust of 122 miles per hour was recorded on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England, which if confirmed would be the country’s highest ever. Severe weather warnings were also issued in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Richard Miles, a spokesman for the Met Office, said the storm was going to be more significant than any since one in January 1990 that killed dozens of people in England.
The winds led to the deaths on Friday of at least six people who were killed by falling trees.
A cyclist and one other person were struck and killed by trees in Amsterdam, the Amsterdam-Amstelland Fire Brigade said in a statement. A person in the town of Diemen was killed inside a car after it was hit by a tree, the Fire Brigade said.
A man in his 60s was struck and killed by a falling tree in southeast Ireland, the country’s police service said in a statement. The man, an employee of the Wexford County Council, was helping to clear debris from the storm.
A woman in her 30s died in London after a tree fell on the car she was in, the Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement. And a sixth person, a man in his 50s, was killed when debris struck the windscreen of a vehicle in Netherton, England, the Merseyside police said in a statement.
A 79-year-old British man died after he fell from his boat at a marina on a waterway in the northern town of Ypres, Belgium, after strong winds knocked him into the water, Reuters reported.
The high winds from the storm also sent a crane crashing into the roof of a hospital in the town of Tournai, west of Brussels. No injuries were reported.
The London Fire Brigade said it had received more emergency calls over a two-and-a-half-hour period on Friday than it normally received in a day.
About 1,000 people were evacuated from the O2 Arena in London, one of Britain’s largest concert venues, after part of the building’s roof was shredded by the wind. There were no reports of injuries or structural damage to the arena, the London Fire Brigade said.
More than 200 flights were canceled at airports across Northern Europe, with most of the cancellations at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website.
A livestream of jets trying to land at Heathrow Airport in London was being watched by more than 200,000 people at one point. The video, on a YouTube channel for aviation enthusiasts, was hosted by Jerry Dyer, who provided colorful commentary with each landing. As one plane tilted and drifted toward the tarmac, Mr. Dyer said “easy son, easy, easy” before a successful landing, earning a “nicely done” from Mr. Dyer.
Train service in parts of Britain was also disrupted, with Wales canceling all service for the day because of the weather. Network Rail, which owns and operates Britain’s rail infrastructure, urged people not to travel “unless absolutely necessary” and suspended some service in southern England on Friday afternoon because of debris blocking the tracks, including fallen trees, a trampoline and the roof of a building. Service was also suspended into and out of major train stations in London, including Waterloo and Euston.
The Port of Dover in southeastern England was temporarily closed to shipping on Friday afternoon. Ferry services were also suspended between Dover and Calais, France, and canceled in the north of England between Newcastle and Amsterdam.
Scores of schools districts along the southern and western coasts of Britain were closed Friday, and attractions in and around London, including the London Eye, were also forced to close because of dangerous winds. Plans for Prince Charles to visit Newport and Swansea, on the south coast of Wales, were also canceled Friday in the “interest of public safety.”
A wider swath of the United Kingdom was under an amber warning, indicating a high risk for power outages, damage to buildings and uprooted trees, the Met Office said. Windy conditions could also scatter debris along beaches.
The northern edge of the storm was expected to bring the risk of snow to parts of Britain, and some areas could see blizzard conditions.
In the Netherlands, rail service was temporarily suspended and professional soccer games on Friday were postponed. In Belgium, some schools closed early because of the storm.
The storm was expected to clear out by the end of the day, Mr. Miles said, but conditions will remain windy over the weekend.
Eunice comes just after another storm, Dudley, knocked out power across parts of Britain and Northern Europe and sent waves crashing through a ferry in Hamburg, Germany, causing damage.
Derrick Bryson Taylor reported from London, and Amanda Holpuch from New York. Claire Moses contributed reporting from Amsterdam, and Johnny Diaz and Isabella Grullón Paz from New York. Olivier De Meulder contributed translation.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism