Seafront roads and flood gates set to close as Portsmouth braces for Storm Eunice with 'danger to life' warning

THE city is preparing to batten down the hatches - with roads and flood gates along the seafront set to close – as Storm Eunice threatens ‘danger to life’ and winds of up to 100mph on Friday.

By Fiona Callingham, Richard Lemmer and Emily Jessica Turner
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 4:55 am

Portsmouth council has confirmed it will be shutting seafront roads in Southsea and closing the flood gates at Old Portsmouth as the storm is set to hit the south coast in the early hours of Friday morning.

It comes as the Met Office has upped its initial yellow alert to an amber weather warning, predicting ‘flying debris,’ ‘uprooted trees’ and ‘power lines brought down.’

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Strong winds in Southsea, Portsmouth on 8th of February 2019 Picture: Habibur Rahman

Guy Mason, Portsmouth City Council’s project director for the Southsea Coastal Scheme, said: ‘There’s an amber warning out for Portsmouth on Friday so we’re preparing for some serious weather, with very strong gale force winds and large waves along the Southsea seafront.

‘As always, when alerted to severe weather conditions, we will be ensuring the flood gates are closed at Old Portsmouth and we will be putting flood boards in place at the Pyramids centre in Southsea.

‘Colas (the council’s contractor) will be closing the seafront road gates. We will also be monitoring the seafront for possible damage.’

The coastal partnership will also be adding additional materials to a stretch of the beach to try and reduce damage to an area of the esplanade which has previously suffered storm damage.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said there were some areas along the seafront causing ‘particular concern.’

He told The News: ‘The bits that we are worried about - partly because of the strengths of the wind - are where the sea walls have had a problem in the past, mainly around where the Naval Memorial is.

‘There's a particular concern about The Beach Club, so we have asked them to empty their cess pit, just in case the storm does significant damage to it. We have got some protection going into it tomorrow.’

The Met Office is predicting ‘extremely strong winds’ developing in the south of England on Friday morning before spreading north and east during the day.

On its website it said: ‘Damage to buildings and homes is likely, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down.

‘Roads, bridges and railway lines are likely to close, with delays and cancellations to bus, train, ferry services and flights.

‘It is likely there will be falling branches and some uprooted trees.’

In preparation of the storm, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), which supplies Portsmouth’s power, is ‘increasing and moving additional resources to key locations in anticipation of any potential damage,’ including teams from contract partners.

A spokesman said: ‘We are also in contact with local resilience partners to aid preparations.

‘If you see any damaged equipment, please keep a safe distance and report it to us by calling 105 or via our power track app, and engineers will investigate as soon as possible.’

Hovertravel, Wightlink and Brittany Ferries have not cancelled any journeys in advance but are advising all customers to check their websites on the day in case of changes.

And across Hampshire roads specialist tree crews, emergency response gangs and drainage teams are all on standby ahead of Friday.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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