This weekend the UK was affected by the unwelcome arrival of storm Eunice. Widespread disruption was seen with some serious consequences such as the 4 deaths and many more injured due to falling debris across the whole of the UK. Subsequently, the transport networks around London were severely affected by Storm Enuice with extensive disturbances and around 200,000 homes across the UK left without power for days (1).
The red weather warning saw the closure of local parks in the West London area such as Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Osterley Park due to high winds, including a record of at least 69mph in Bushy Park. The Royal Parks charity estimated that the storm saw the loss of about 150 trees across London’s Royal Parks.The Royal Parks are home to around 150,000 trees including some rare and veteran trees. Three veteran oak trees were lost in Richmond park alone. Not only was this a risk to residents, as one woman was tragically killed when a tree crushed her car in Highgate on Saturday afternoon, but it also caused many disruptions to daily life, especially for those who use the local parks for exercise or dog walking.
Dog walker Mya Rai, 16, explained how she was affected by the closure of Osterley Park due to the storm. Mya’s dog needs to be walked twice a day or it can become anxious. She stated that, “The storm was not only inconvenient and dangerous for dog walkers, but also made my dog even more anxious as they can sense changes in the weather.” It is clear that many others with pets, especially dogs, were in similar situations as the risk of even leaving dogs in the garden was too high due to the wind speeds.
Others such as Thea Raynor, 17, spoke about how the storm left them feeling vulnerable. Thea and her family were left feeling unsafe, especially since their back garden fences and walls had been destroyed. She stated that, “Following the storm, my family was left in quite an insecure position due not only to the immense cost of repairing the damage, but also to the risk posed to my family’s belongings, such as bikes, being left open to the public in area which already has a significant theft rate.’
Speaking with other local residents, it became clear that the effects of the storm were felt in a number of different ways. Meera Sofat, 45, explained that those who use Marble Hill Park, St Margarets, for personal training were forced to divert to Moormead Park. Meera said, “Even at Moormead there were many trees that had been blown down by the storm; it was very lucky that the houses nearby had not been damaged.”
For the majority of people, Storm Eunice proved an inconvenient, but also unsettling experience due to the red weather warnings. While London and the rest of the UK continue to clear up the damage caused, especially affecting transport and parks, many individual residents are themselves attempting to deal with the repercussions of the storm, including costly damage to their property.