Storm Eunice warning for Kent

Local residents and people needing to travel in or through Kent on Friday should plan for significant disruption due to extremely strong winds.

Friday’s extremely strong winds could reach their highest speeds along the coast. Credit: Met Office

An amber wind warning is now in force from 3am to 9pm on 18 February as Storm Eunice sweeps in from the Atlantic and powers across the southern half of the UK.

The Met Office is forecasting there is a good chance flying debris could pose a danger to life and inland gusts of 60-80mph are likely to damage buildings and bring down power lines. It means there is a good chance of power cuts and other services, such as mobile phone coverage, being affected.

Roads, bridges and railway lines are likely to close, with delays and cancellations to bus, train, ferry services and flights. It is likely there will be falling branches and some uprooted trees.

National Highways, in collaboration with the Met Office, has issued a severe weather alert for strong winds covering several areas, including the South East, between 6am and 6pm on Friday. It means high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes could be blown over on specific stretches of road including, in Kent, the:

  • A2 Jubilee Way close to Dover
  • M2 J2-J3 Medway Viaduct
  • A249 Kings Ferry / Sheppey Crossing, and
  • A282 QE2 Bridge / Dartford Bridge

Southeastern trains will be operating a reduced timetable and enforcing a 50mph speed restriction across most of its network on Friday. Read the latest from Southeastern here

With coastal and exposed areas set to see the strongest Eunice winds, potentially over 80-90mph on the Kent coast, the Environment Agency is also warning that large waves are likely and beach material could be thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties.  

With most COVID travel restrictions lifted, and more families on the move during the half-term break, Kent County Council Senior Highways Manager Toby Howe said it was important people keep in touch with traffic, travel and weather updates to ensure they stay safe.

Toby Howe said: “Storm Eunice will likely bring significant disruption due to extremely high winds as it tracks across the south of the country from the early hours of Friday.

“It means driving conditions in Kent will likely be dangerous at times, especially for high-sided vehicles, and some road, bridge and railway line closures may be necessary. It is also not a day for wave watching and storm selfies at the beach.

“When the Met Office names a storm we all need to take notice and follow simple steps to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and not put others, including emergency services, unnecessarily at risk.”

Steps you can take to stay safe in a storm include:

  • KEEPING UP TO DATE with the latest weather forecast and weather warnings – by visiting the Met Office website or following the Met Office’s social media channels, including on Twitter via @metoffice, @metofficeSEEng and @metofficeUK. The key hashtags to follow are #weatherready #weatherwarnings and #StormEunice. You can also follow the Met Office on You Tube, FacebookInstagramSnapchat and TikTok
  • FOLLOWING THE MET OFFICE’S SEASONAL ADVICEread ‘How to stay safe in a storm’
  • FOLLOWING NATIONAL HIGHWAYS’ ADVICE on carrying out vehicle checks and travelling in high winds
  • CHECKING your route #EverySingleJourney if your trip is essential – for where to go for the latest traffic and travel updates in Kent visit Kent County Council’s Travel & Transport page here
  • ALLOWING extra time if you must travel to get to your destination and preparing your car by packing essentials and checking tyres, lights, fuel and water – because driving conditions in storms can be difficult and possibly dangerous; you may experience delays and should take steps to avoid your vehicle unavoidably breaking down.

Storm Eunice warning for Kent was last modified: February 17th, 2022 by Scarlett Elworthy