The Met Office has issued a rare “red” warning as Storm Eunice brings high winds and poses a risk to life across Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area.
Several schools and colleges have closed and Network Rail said: “Storm Eunice will severely disrupt travel today.”
Trains will be subject to speed restrictions to reduce the risk of hitting debris blown on to the tracks and a number of services have been cancelled.
Brighton and Hove Buses said: “We are doing all we can to continue operating a normal service but some delays can be expected due to the weather conditions.”
The official forecaster said: “Storm Eunice is causing significant disruption and dangerous conditions due to extremely strong winds.”
Forecasts suggested that the storm could be the worst for 30 years, with council bosses urging people to stay away from the rough sea.
The height of the storm, with gusts of up to 80mph, was predicted to be from 10am to 3pm today (Friday 18 February).
And the current high spring tides will add to the risks on the seafront with high tide due just after midday.
The Met Office said that flying debris, which includes pebbles and shingle, could result in a danger to life.
The forecaster also warned people to expect
- damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down
- roads, bridges and railway lines closed, with delays and cancellations to bus, train, ferry services and flights
- power cuts, affecting other services such as mobile phone coverage
- large waves and beach material being thrown on to coastal roads, seafronts and homes
The Met Office upgraded an earlier amber wind warning this morning just before 3.45am.
Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Brighton and Hove’s beaches can be extremely dangerous in stormy weather with violent waves coming from different directions, coupled with freezing temperatures and high spring tides.
“Our seafront team patrol the 13km (eight miles) of our seafront and look out for the safety of the public but we urge people to keep well away from high waves and rough seas.
“Strong winds and heavy rain can bring down branches and trees, damaging overhead power lines.
“Please only report fallen trees and hazards causing an immediate danger to 999.
“To report other debris and damage, please use the numbers below
- Dangerous structures, fallen trees and lampposts in Brighton and Hove 01273 292229
- Damaged telephone lines and poles 0800 023 2023
- UK Power Networks 0800 316 3105
“UK Power Networks has arranged for additional contact centre staff and more engineers on the ground to help customers whose electricity supply might be affected.
“Residents can find regular updates and information about power cuts on www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk.
“Anyone experiencing a power cut should
- Visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/powercut and type in their postcode to view the live power cut map with details of individual power cuts
- Call 105 free of charge to speak to the customer service team, report a power cut or damage to the electricity network
- Tweet @UKPowerNetworks to report a power cut or to receive updates
- Visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk for the latest updates
“After Storm Eunice, the unsettled weather is due to continue over the weekend, with further strong winds, rain and sleet expected through Saturday and Sunday.
“The changeable conditions are then expected to continue into next week.”
The Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust was one of a number of organisations to say that its venues would be closed today.
The trust said: “If you have booked a ticket to visit today, please contact us early next week to reschedule or arrange a refund. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”