Storm Eunice batters Europe, killing at least 9

Waves crash against the sea wall and Porthcawl Lighthouse in Porthcawl, Bridgend, Wales, Britain, as Storm Eunice makes landfall on Feb 18, 2022. (JACOB KING / PA VIA AP)

LONDON – An Atlantic storm battered northwestern Europe on Friday with record winds of up to 196 km per hour, killing at least nine people, knocking out power for tens of thousands and shredding the roof of London's O2 arena.

Storm Eunice, which brewed in the central Atlantic and was spun up from the Azores towards Europe by the jet stream, posed a danger to life, Britain's Meteorological Office said.

The storm hit western England, making landfall in Cornwall, where waves lashed the coast, sending plumes of spray over the roofs of cottages, Reuters pictures showed.

Firefighters inspect damage to the roof of the O2 Arena, caused by Storm Eunice, in south east London on Feb 18, 2022. London Fire Brigade said that there were no reports of any injuries as around 1,000 people were evacuated from the building, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, which hosts major events including concerts and features restaurants, bars, shops and a cinema. (STEFAN ROUSSEAU / PA VIA AP)

A woman was killed in London when a car in which she was travelling was crushed by a tree and a man in a vehicle in Liverpool died due to flying debris. Another man died after a vehicle collided with a fallen tree in the southern English county of Hampshire

A woman was killed in London when a car in which she was travelling was crushed by a tree and a man in a vehicle in Liverpool died due to flying debris. Another man died after a vehicle collided with a fallen tree in the southern English county of Hampshire. 

In the Netherlands, four people were killed by toppled trees. In Belgium, high winds brought a crane down onto the roof of a hospital and a British man died after being blown from his boat into the water.

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A man died in Ireland after being struck by a falling tree while clearing storm debris, RTE reported.

High winds in London shredded the white domed roof of the O2 arena which has hosted stars from The Rolling Stones to Beyonce and Rihanna. Tall buildings in London trembled as wind whistled through Canary Wharf.

In Wales, waves crashed over Aberystwyth promenade, some as high as houses. More than 100,000 people were hit by power cuts as lines were torn down and ancient trees keeled over.

A man walks by a fallen tree blocking a road as Storm Eunice swept across the UK, in Sudbury, Suffolk, England on Feb 18, 2022. (JOE GIDDENS / PA VIA AP)

"Storm Eunice is really packing a punch," Met Office Chief Meteorologist Frank Saunders said. "We only issue red weather warnings when we think there is a threat to life from the weather."

The Met Office said a gust of 122 mph was recorded at The Needles on the Isle of Wight, provisionally a record for the most powerful gust ever recorded in England.

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Later on Friday, the Met Office said the fiercest winds from the storm were heading towards Scandinavia and northern mainland Europe where warnings had been issued.