As the UK braces itself for Storm Eunice, travellers have been told to prepare for one of the worst storms in 30 years. 

The red weather warning was issued for southwest coastal areas of the UK including Gwent and Newport and Somerset.

The Met Office has warned of dangerous conditions and extremely strong winds and has predicted that gusts could be up to 90mph.

Red weather warnings are rarely issued by the weather service, with the last one being Storm Arwen in November 2021 and then March 2018 before that.

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.” 

Glasgow Times: A car driving by a stormy sea. Credit: PAA car driving by a stormy sea. Credit: PA

Can you drive in a red weather warning?

We can expect and should prepare for the following conditions when there is a red wind warning:

  • Flying debris resulting in danger to life
  • Damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down
  • Uprooted trees are likely
  • 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 onto coastal roads, sea fronts and homes, including flooding of some coastal properties

National Highways Head of Road Safety, Jeremy Phillips, said: “We’re encouraging drivers to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys and consider if their journey is necessary and can be delayed until conditions improve. If you do intend to travel, then plan your trip and take extra care, allowing more time for your journey. 

Mr Phillips continued: “In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down.  Drivers of other vehicles should be aware of sudden gusts of wind which can affect handling and braking, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, and motorbikes plenty of space. In the event of persistent high winds we may need to close bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow signed diversion routes.” 

Although we are warned against driving in a red alert area, there are no rules against it. 

Drivers are warned to be particularly careful if they choose to do so but will your car insurance cover you if something were to happen to your vehicle?


READ MORE: Storm Eunice: What to do if your property is damaged, according to insurers

READ MORE: Why is it called Storm Eunice? Met Office explains reason


Does a red weather warning affect your car insurance?

Yes, if you are covered by a comprehensive car insurance provider, you should still be covered if you get into an accident while driving during a red weather warning.

This would also be the case if your vehicle was damaged by falling debris, for example.

Your insurance, however, would not cover you if you have been driving recklessly.

MoneySuperMarket has said that if your insurance company can prove contributory negligence on your part then you might have your claim questioned. 

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, told The Scottish Sun: “Your insurance cover should remain valid whatever the weather, but don’t take that as a green flag to drive without giving heed to the red alert.

“Simply knowing you’re going to get a payout shouldn’t mean you take undue risks.

“If your insurance company can prove contributory negligence on your part, your claim might be questioned, and any payout reduced.”