Storm Eunice: Safety tips issued for farmers
17th February 2022
High speed winds are expected to strike this Friday (18th) and the Met Office has issued a red weather warning for south west England and South Wales.
Farmers are being urged to make safety a top priority as the Met Office predicts hurricane-force winds will hit the UK tomorrow.
Storm Eunice is expected to strike from the early hours of Friday morning and continue into the night. It follows Storm Dudley which brought high-speed winds on Wednesday and Thursday and caused significant damage.
High-speed winds in south west England and South Wales on Friday are expected to bring power lines down, cause significant damage to buildings, rip trees from the ground and cause coastal flooding. Flying debris could result in danger to life, and significant travel disruption is also predicted as transport links are closed, roads and rail are blocked by debris and wind and rain make driving perilous.
The Environment Agency also warned coastal communities in the south west and south coasts of England to prepare for expected flooding impacts. Severe flood warnings, meaning there is a threat to life, will be issued for parts of the tidal Severn Estuary and River Wye in Gloucestershire.
Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “After the impacts from Storm Dudley for many on Wednesday, Storm Eunice will bring damaging gusts in what could be one of the most impactful storms to affect southern and central parts of the UK for a few years.
“The red warning area indicates a significant danger to life as extremely strong winds provide the potential for damage to structures and flying debris. Although the most exposed coastal areas in the south and west could see gusts in excess of 90mph, winds will remain notably strong further inland, with gusts of between 70-80mph for most within the amber warning area.”
As of 1.30pm today (17th February), there were a further 11 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 57 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is likely. It is expected that these numbers will rise over the coming hours.
NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist, Rebecca Davidson, said: “It’s a fast-changing situation and we are urging people to keep up to date with weather warnings.
“Many farms are in exposed locations so we are urging farmers to plan ahead, take extreme care and not to underestimate the potential danger of Storm Eunice, including risk to life.
“There are a number of preventative steps that you can take while the weather is calm before a storm to help protect your property, but human safety should always be the number one priority.”
Evacuation routes should be planned to get staff and livestock to safety in the case of extreme weather. And identify safer ground to which you can move livestock in the event of flooding or snow. Animals may also get stranded so it’s worth increasing provisions to see them through, Rebecca advised.
“We have mobilised our network of 550 Agents across the UK. They know their communities and are on standby to progress repairs after the storms, including making emergency payments and settling simpler claims immediately. We also work closely with agricultural specialist loss adjusters, so if you are unfortunate and have a bad loss on your farm then we’re able to deploy people who understand your business,” she added.
NFU Mutual has issued the following advice:
Before the storm:
- Prepare for power cuts: Have torches and batteries to hand and make sure any generators are ready to use if required.
- Plan evacuation routes to get staff and livestock to safety in the case of extreme weather – identify safer ground that you can move livestock to in event of flooding or snow.
- Plan water and feed in advance, and increase provisions for animals who may end up cut-off during a storm and it may be unsafe to reach them.
- Have emergency numbers available including your utility company, local authority and insurer’s emergency helpline.
- Download the what3words app which can pinpoint your location in case of emergency.
During the storm:
- Keep all building doors and windows closed.
- If you have to leave the house, tell people where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Avoid the sheltered side of walls and trees when walking.
- If journeys are essential, drive slowly and carefully, staying aware of high winds on exposed roads and ice and water on the road.
- Do not attempt emergency repairs during the storm.
- Be aware after a storm or weather event, power cables or powerlines may have been brought down.
- Check field boundaries are intact as trees can bring down fences and result in animals straying.
- Don’t enter any buildings that could be unsafe following a storm.