Three storms in a week cause havoc across much of Britain’s electricity network.
It’s the first time the Met Office has had three named storms in the space of a week since introducing the current system in 2015.
The bad weather started with Storm Dudley on Wednesday 16 February. It was followed by Storm Eunice on Friday and Storm Franklin on Monday 21 February.
High winds and heavy rain battered large parts of the country, with a record-breaking gust of 122 mph posted on the Isle of Wight on Friday. The extreme weather resulted in dozens of flood warnings and hundreds of flood alerts.
More than 1.4 million homes were left without power during the worst of Storm Eunice. This is said to be the largest ever number of properties affected by a power cut.
By Sunday afternoon, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) said 77,000 people were still without power. That’s despite the sterling efforts of 8,000 engineers trying to reconnect the damaged parts of the network.
Western Power Distribution, the distribution network operator for the south west of England, called the incident the ‘most widespread power cut ever recorded’.
It had managed to restore supplies to 461,000 of its customers, leaving a further 60,000 without electricity.
Days Of Damage
The storms led to the deaths of four people from falling trees and debris.
While the high winds caused chaos throughout the transport network, leading to cancellations, delays, and disruption on the railways, buses, and airports.
The storms also caused millions of pounds worth of damage to buildings up and down the country. In London, the O2 arena’s roof was partially destroyed.
Comparable Power Cuts In The UK
Storms and extreme weather have caused similar such power outages in the past.
Of course, the most infamous of these took place in October 1987. Said to be the biggest storm to hit southern parts of the UK in nearly 300 years, the ‘Great Storm of 1987’ killed 18 people and caused billions of pounds worth of damage.
The St Jude Storm of October 2013 saw winds topping 99 mph leaving 850,000 homes without electricity.
February 2020 saw Storm Ciara. This saw some parts of Britain saw a month and a half’s rainfall in less than a day. Winds of up to 97 mph damaged the electricity network and left 770,000 without power.
While last autumn, around 500,000 were left without electricity after Storm Arwen battered much of the country.