Met Office issues advice on how to stay safe during Storm Eunice as red weather warnings issued

Waves crashing by Godrevy Lighthouse in St Ives Bay in 2018 Credit: PA

Two red 'danger to life' weather warnings have been issued across the UK covering parts of the south-west of England, east of England and Wales, prompting the Met Office to issue advice on how to stay safe.

Storm Eunice could bring winds of up to 100mph, with red and amber weather warnings and a series of flood alerts in place for Friday.

The Met Office has warned of "significant disruption and dangerous conditions" due to "extremely strong winds".

The first red weather warning was issued on Thursday and was set as starting from 7am on Friday along the coastline of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset as well as the south coast of Wales due to the combination of high tides, strong winds and storm surge.Meanwhile, the second red weather warning was issued just before 4am to run from 10am until 3pm on Friday covering Greater London, Kent, Surrey, Essex and East Sussex.

The weather agency say this could include damage to buildings, homes and infrastructure like train lines due to flying debris caused by extremely high winds.

They also said power lines could be brought down and large waves in coastal areas could result in beach material being thrown onto roads and coastal properties.

Flooding is highly likely in these areas, which also poses a risk to safety.

An amber weather warning, the second-highest alert level - for high winds is in place for the rest of England and Wales south of Manchester from 5am to 9pm on Friday.The government have also issued 11 flood warnings and 55 flood alerts as of 1pm on Thursday. Many of the higher level flood warnings have been put in place for areas around the Severn Estuary.

The Met Office have provided a list of advice on how to keep yourself safe before, during and after a storm.

What to do to stay safe during Storm Eunice

Before the storm hits, you should:

  • Secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them

  • Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages

  • Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences

  • Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts, particularly if roof pitch is less than 30°

  • If the house is fitted with storm shutters over the windows then ensure that these are closed and fastened

  • If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them

During the storm, you should:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible

  • If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees

  • Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences - if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side

  • Do not go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress

  • If possible, enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you

  • Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you

  • Take care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges, or high open roads, delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible

  • Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high sided vehicle

  • Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary

After the storm is over, you should:

  • Be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging

  • Do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened

  • Make sure that any vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs

They also provide more specific advice for people travelling during a storm, or for when your property floods.

How to stay safe when driving in a storm

The Met Office advises against driving during a storm, or delaying your journey if a weather warning has been issued.

If travel is essential, you should drive slower than usual to give yourself more time to react to hazards on the road like fallen trees.

You should also use dipped headlights, and grip the steering wheel firmly with both hands, especially when overtaking.

They also urge drivers never to drive through a flood, as this is the number one cause of flooding related death.

If the road is flooded, turn around and find another route, they advise.

How to protect your property from flooding

Previous flooding near Forthampton in Gloucestershire. Credit: PA

The first thing you can do to prepare for the risk of flooding in your property, according to the Met Office, is to prepare a flood plan.

This involves compiling a list of useful contact numbers like your local council, utility providers and your insurance company.

Your flood plan should also include instructions on how to turn off your electricity or gas supply, moving your valuables to a safe place and being aware of the larger items you would need to move - furniture, pets and cars - in the event of a flood.

Preparing a flood kit is also important to protect yourself against flooding.

This includes useful items such as insurance documents and list of contact numbers, a torch and spare batteries, a first aid kit and any prescription medicines, warm waterproof clothes and blankets and bottled water and snacks.