Storm Eunice and its powerful winds killed people with fallen trees, flying debris and gusts that swept a man overboard.
An Atlantic storm hit northwest Europe with record winds of up to 196 km (122 miles) per hour, killing at least nine people, knocking out power for tens of thousands and shredding the roof of London’s O2 Arena.
Storm Eunice hit the west of England and made landfall in Cornwall on Friday where waves hit the coast sending plumes of spray tens of meters into the air.
A woman was killed in London when a car she was traveling in was crushed by a tree and a man in a vehicle in Liverpool died due to flying debris. Another man has died after a vehicle collided with a fallen tree in the county of Hampshire in southern England.
In the Netherlands, three people were killed by overturned trees. In Belgium, high winds knocked a crane off the roof of a hospital and a Briton died after being thrown from his boat into the water.
Another man died in Ireland after being struck by a falling tree while clearing debris from the storm, RTE reported.
And in Germany, a motorist died after his car was hit by a tree near the town of Altenberge.
High winds in London shredded the white domed roof of the O2 arena which has hosted stars from the Rolling Stones to Beyonce and Rihanna. London’s tall buildings shook as the wind whistled through Canary Wharf.
In Wales, waves crashed onto Aberystwyth promenade, some as tall as houses. More than 100,000 people have been affected by power outages as lines were torn down and century-old trees toppled.
“Storm Eunice really packs a punch,” said Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders. “We only issue red weather warnings when we believe there is a threat to life from the weather.”
The Met Office said a gust of 196kph (122mph) was recorded at The Needles on the Isle of Wight, tentatively a record for the most powerful gust ever recorded in England.
Later on Friday, the Met Office said the strongest winds from the storm were heading towards Scandinavia and northern mainland Europe where warnings were issued.
Planes were buffeted so badly by gusts at some UK airports that pilots were forced to abandon landings. A live stream from the runway at Heathrow Airport was watched by more than 200,000 people online.
A total of 436 flights have been canceled across the UK amid record winds from Storm Eunice, data from Cirium shows.
At the Tan Hill Inn, Britain’s highest pub in Yorkshire, staff were busy getting ready even though the winds simply remained strong in the northern region of England.
“But with the snow coming now, the wind is picking up, we’re battening down the hatches, bracing ourselves for a bad day and a worse night,” said Angus Leslie, the pub’s maintenance worker.
Environment Agency chief Roy Stokes has warned weather watchers and amateur photographers against traveling to Britain’s south coast in search of dramatic images, calling it of “probably the dumbest thing you can do”.
Scientists have said the tail of the Atlantic storm could pack a ‘pungent jet’ – a rarely seen weather phenomenon that wreaked havoc across Britain and northern France during the Great Storm of 1987 .