Huge 400-year-old oak tree crashed through roof of home during Storm Eunice 

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Huge 400-year-old oak tree crashed through roof of home during Storm Eunice 
Huge 400-year-old oak tree crashed through roof of home during Storm Eunice 

An enormous 400-year-old oak tree was uprooted by Storm Eunice and came crashing down on top of a £750,000 family home yesterday.

Sven Good said he was working in his parents’ detached house in Brentwood, Essex when he ‘heard a creak and then a massive bang’ as the tree smashed through several rooms. He said the family wept before doing ‘the very British thing’ of going to the pub.

‘I was on a conference call when I heard a huge breath of wind, a creak, and then a massive bang,’ Mr Good told the BBC.

‘The whole house shook. My girlfriend was working in another room and told me she had heard something, and asked if a window had smashed. I said: “No, the house has just been destroyed”.’

The family has moved back into the parts of the house that escaped damage, and are waiting for a structural engineer and their insurance company to assess the extent of the damage.

Mr Good added that his Mazda MX5 car was damaged after he decided to move the vehicle on the advice of his mother amid storm warnings the previous night. ‘Ironically, if I’d left it where I’d originally parked it, it would have been fine,’ he mused.

His father Dominic Good was in the middle of a work conference call at his home on Friday morning when he was interrupted by an ‘almighty crash’. 

‘A big gust just snapped the base of the massive oak tree in our garden, that is probably around 400 years old,’ he said. ‘The whole tree fell on the north-west corner of the house and the roof took the brunt of it. The roof is pretty much destroyed, and my son and my daughter’s bedrooms are completely filled with rubble.’

The family had predicted there could be some storm damage from the huge gusts of wind but ‘never expected’ the level of destruction that transpired. 

Four people in the UK and Ireland have been killed during one of the worst storms to have battered the isles in decades.

Tributes have been paid to Irish council worker father-of-one Billy Kinsella who was crushed by a tree as it came tumbling down.  

Sven Good, pictured with his girlfriend Anna Parnanen, was at his parents’ house in Brentwood Essex when an ancient oak tree smashed through his bedroom window during Storm Eunice

Huge 400-year-old oak tree crashed through roof of home during Storm Eunice 

Damaged caused to home of Dominic Good, in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex

Damage caused to a bedroom at the home of Dominic Good, in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex

Damage caused to a bedroom at the home of Dominic Good, in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex

The family has moved back into the parts of the house that escaped damage, and are waiting for a structural engineer and their insurance company to assess the extent of the damage

The family has moved back into the parts of the house that escaped damage, and are waiting for a structural engineer and their insurance company to assess the extent of the damage

Tree debris covers a Mazda MX-5 belonging to Sven Good, 23, at his parent's house, in Stondon Massey

Tree debris covers a Mazda MX-5 belonging to Sven Good, 23, at his parent’s house, in Stondon Massey

Sven Good, 23, looks out from his bedroom window at the damage caused to the family family home in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex, after a 400-year-old oak tree in the garden was uprooted by Storm Eunice

Sven Good, 23, looks out from his bedroom window at the damage caused to the family family home in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex, after a 400-year-old oak tree in the garden was uprooted by Storm Eunice

Dominic Good looks at the roots of a 400-year-old oak tree in his garden, which was uprooted by Storm Eunice and fell onto his property in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex

Dominic Good looks at the roots of a 400-year-old oak tree in his garden, which was uprooted by Storm Eunice and fell onto his property in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex

Tributes have been paid to an Irish council worker father-of-one who was one of four people in the UK and Ireland killed during Storm Eunice. Billy Kinsella, 59, was clearing debris from a road close to his home in Co Wexford, Ireland when he was crushed by a tree as it came tumbling down during yesterday’s carnage

Tributes have been paid to an Irish council worker father-of-one who was one of four people in the UK and Ireland killed during Storm Eunice. Billy Kinsella, 59, was clearing debris from a road close to his home in Co Wexford, Ireland when he was crushed by a tree as it came tumbling down during yesterday’s carnage

Oliver Le Besque said there was a 'river of blood running down the road' after the cab of a flatbed truck was 'completely crushed' by the huge tree in Alton, Hampshire yesterday

Oliver Le Besque said there was a ‘river of blood running down the road’ after the cab of a flatbed truck was ‘completely crushed’ by the huge tree in Alton, Hampshire yesterday

The white-domed roof of the O2 Arena is seen this morning after it was damaged during Storm Eunice

The white-domed roof of the O2 Arena is seen this morning after it was damaged during Storm Eunice

Passengers wait at Waterloo station, London, for cancelled or delayed trains in the aftermath of Storm Eunice

Passengers wait at Waterloo station, London, for cancelled or delayed trains in the aftermath of Storm Eunice

The Met Office has issued a less-severe yellow wind warning for today (pictured) and tomorrow The Met Office has issued a less-severe yellow wind warning for today and tomorrow (pictured)

 The Met Office has issued a less-severe yellow wind warning for today (left) and tomorrow (right)

The Environment Agency has kept flood warnings across much of England in place this morning

The Environment Agency has kept flood warnings across much of England in place this morning

In numbers: Storm Eunice, which shattered wind speed records and claimed at least four lives  

  • 4 deaths in the UK and Ireland
  • 122mph record wind speed for England 
  • 1.1million properties suffer power cuts 
  • 435,000 properties still affected last night 
  • 20million told to stay at home 
  • 10 severe flood warnings 
  • 10,000 cancelled rail services 
  • 1,000 people evacuated from O2 Arena 
  • 36,000 pupils sent home in Swansea

The 59-year-old employee of Wexford County Council was clearing debris from a road close to his home in Co Wexford, Ireland when he was killed. Sinn Fein councillor Fionntan O Suilleabhain, who lives close to Mr Kinsella and grew up with his family, was among those to pay tribute.

He said: ‘People in the area are devastated. It is such a tragedy for his wife Rita and their only child Conor. Billy died in the line of duty while out doing council work and attending the scene of a fallen tree. He died round the corner from where we both live and he died in a manner that makes it most tragic.

‘He comes from a well-respected family and a very hard-working family. He was a quiet family man who was devoted to his son, who he brought to sporting events all over.

‘Conor plays for the under-20s Wexford team and would be heavily involved in GAA, like Billy’s father was before him. People are very shocked.’

Fianna Fail councillor Donal Kenny said: ‘I knew Billy quite well. He was a nice easy-going fella and was one of those lads who got on with his day’s work. He was out doing his job to keep the roads clear. It is very difficult for his family.’

A woman in her 30s died after a tree fell on a car in Haringey, north London on Friday afternoon, the Metropolitan Police said. A man in his 50s died in Netherton, Merseyside after debris struck the windscreen of a vehicle he was travelling in. 

Another man in his 20s was killed in Alton, Hampshire after a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter pick-up collided with a tree in Old Odiham Road just before midday. A member of the public suffered ‘serious injuries’ after being struck by debris from a roof in Henley-on-Thames. Two men were hospitalised following similar, separate incidents in south London. 

Brave passers-by desperately tried to free two men trapped in their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter pick-up after it was smashed by a huge tree in Alton.

Oliver Le Besque said there was a ‘river of blood running down the road’ at around midday yesterday after the cab of the truck was ‘completely crushed’.

The handyman was one of several hero rescuers who sprang into action when the tree fell on the vehicle as record-breaking gales of 122mph howled through the country yesterday in one of the worst storms to have battered the island in decades.

Strongest wind speeds on record in Britain 

Storm Eunice is set to sweep across much of the UK, with warnings issues over very high wind speeds.

The storm has sparked disruption in travel and business, with schools closed and some homes left without power.

Here are some of the strongest wind speeds on record in the UK, according to Met Office data:

  • 98mph: The strongest gust recorded during Storm Arwen on the night of November 26-27 2021, at Brizlee Wood, Northumberland. Before Storm Eunice, Arwen was the most recent example of a red weather warning being issued in the UK.
  • 105mph: The strongest gust during Storm Gertrude on January 29 2016, at Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. This storm saw a red weather warning issued for the whole of the Shetlands.
  • 115mph: The peak wind speed reached during the ‘Great Storm’ of the night of October 15-16 1987, at Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex. Gusts also reached 99mph at Gatwick Airport and 94mph in central London.
  • 118mph: The strongest gust recorded at a low-level location in England, at Gwennap Head in Cornwall on December 15 1979.
  • 142mph: The strongest gust recorded at any low-level location in the UK, at Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire, on February 13 1989.
  • 173mph: This was the strongest gust ever recorded in the UK, at Cairngorm summit in the Highlands of Scotland on March 20 1986.

Tragically, the passenger of the truck, in his 20s, suffered devastating injuries and died at the scene. The driver, also in his 20s, was pulled from the van and has been hospitalised. Hampshire Constabulary are investigating the incident involving a Mercedez-Benz Sprinter. 

Mr Le Besque, 40, had been called by his sister Charlotte after her 10-year-old daughter looked out her window and saw the tree crash down onto the vehicle and screamed.

The handyman then dashed to his sister’s flat which looks onto Old Odiham Road in Alton with a bag of tools.

Thanks to the efforts of Mr Le Besque, four men from a brickwork company and other helpers, they were able to make a clearing to the truck, get to the vehicle, and assist emergency services in the rescue.

He said: ‘It was a flatbed, tipper type truck. It had a cage on the back for carrying items with “Highway Maintenance” written on the side. But it was completely destroyed at the front. It’s tragic – someone left to go to work.

‘There were four men from [the brickwork company] who were already trying to help when I arrived. They were hacking away at the tree – you could not get anywhere near the van.

‘One of them had climbed over the logs and was looking inside the cab. He said one of the men was unresponsive, and we now know he was deceased. But the other man was conscious and the [brickwork] worker held his hand for a while.

“He was pinned to the door – the cab was completely crushed with not much of the tree left standing.

‘It took a long time to get him out because I think he was only taken to hospital a few hours later. I was just helping and directing them – they were diamonds. It was a scene of devastation. I saw a river of blood that was running down the road.’

Mr Le Besque said it is thought the men had been driving when the tree fell leaving only the root standing.

Emergency services rushed to the scene in the market town of Alton after the tragic incident.

A 68-year-old eyewitness, who was out walking through Alton, said a male driver inside had ‘blood all over his face’ and looked in distress.

He said: ‘I was walking down the road when I came across the tree and I had to climb across it to get past it. At this point I couldn’t see anything so I was just climbing.

‘When I climbed over it I saw this white pick-up truck out of the corner of my eye. I thought to myself “oh my Christ there is a car under there” and I looked and saw the man in the cab. As I saw him he looked over to me. His face was covered in blood, as I looked at him I felt so sorry for the guy.

‘The tree was across his cab, they were big, thick branches. The branches were bigger than some normal-sized trees you see.’

He added: ‘The tree dented the vehicle, the roof of the cab was all dented in and the door was all dented in too.

‘It looked like it was the stump of the tree that hit the car and had split in half. I could not believe it. The vehicle was quite well-hidden under there.’

Emergency services workers wearing white overalls spattered with blood were attempting to remove one occupant of the vehicle. 

Around 250,000 people across the UK are still without power, according to power suppliers SSEN, UK Power Networks, Western Power, Northern Power and SP Energy (power outage maps pictured above)

Around 250,000 people across the UK are still without power, according to power suppliers SSEN, UK Power Networks, Western Power, Northern Power and SP Energy (power outage maps pictured above)

A fallen tree blocks a road on February 19, 2022 in Southwick, England

A fallen tree blocks a road on February 19, 2022 in Southwick, England

Scene on Muswell Hill Road in north London. A woman has died in Muswell Hill, north London, after a tree fell onto a car she was travelling in

Scene on Muswell Hill Road in north London. A woman has died in Muswell Hill, north London, after a tree fell onto a car she was travelling in

A man in his 50s was killed in Netherton, Merseyside, after debris struck the windscreen of a vehicle he was travelling in

A man in his 50s was killed in Netherton, Merseyside, after debris struck the windscreen of a vehicle he was travelling in

Parts of the roof of The O2 arena were damaged by high winds brought on by Storm Eunice yesterday

Parts of the roof of The O2 arena were damaged by high winds brought on by Storm Eunice yesterday

A chimney has collaped at a Power Plant on the Isle of Graint in Kent due to winds from Storm Eunice. There should be three chimneys but one has collapsed A chimney has collaped at a Power Plant on the Isle of Graint in Kent due to winds from Storm Eunice. (Before photo, the middle chimney has since collapsed)

A chimney has collapsed at a Power Plant on the Isle of Graint in Kent due to winds from Storm Eunice. There should be three chimneys (before photo, right)

A street cleaner sweeps up in Leicester Square in the aftermath of Storm Eunice

A street cleaner sweeps up in Leicester Square in the aftermath of Storm Eunice

Eunice was one of the worst storms to rip through UK in DECADES, forecaster says 

Meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said Eunice was one of the worst storms in decades. He said: ‘The 122mph statistic was a new provisional record for England in terms of wind gusts.

‘But it’s also about how widespread the storm was, so we will be looking at whether this storm was worse than the Burns Night storm (in 1990), or the one in 1987 when gusts were around 80 to 90mph – but the damage may have been more widespread.’

Mr Dewhurst added that gusts reached 70mph at Heathrow, where planes struggled to land and thousands of people tuned in to watch on YouTube channel Big Jet TV, and 59mph in inner-city London.

He warned travellers to brace for more windy weather in the coming days.

‘We’ll see gusts through the day of up to 40 to 60mph, particularly around the coasts,’ Mr Dewhurst said.

‘This will have an impact on the clearing up process over the course of the day. We will see a slight easing in the wind over the evening time tonight but it’s not long before they pick up again tomorrow to lead to another windy day across the UK.’

A force spokesman said: ‘Police were called at 11.49am on Friday, February 18, to a collision involving a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter pick-up and a tree in Old Odiham Road.

‘Officers attended the incident with colleagues from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and South Central Ambulance Service.

‘Two men, in their 20s, were in the vehicle. Sadly the passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver has been taken to Southampton General Hospital [Hants] with serious injuries.

‘The next of kin for both men have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

‘Officers are investigating the exact circumstances of the incident. Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has dash-cam footage should call 101, quoting the reference 44220068638.’

In dramatic scenes, the roof of The O2 in London was torn apart, while trees were ripped up, debris was sent flying, and shoppers were blown over.  

More than 430 flights were cancelled or diverted and London City Airport was closed for most of the day. An estimated 5million were gripped by livestream video of aircraft attempting to land at London’s Heathrow Airport during the storm. 

The Ministry of Defence said that more than 800 personnel were at ‘higher readiness to respond’. 

Around a quarter of a million people are still without power. As of last night, the number of households without power listed by providers was: 6,000 in Northern Power, 112,000 in Western Power, 260 in Electricity North West, 156,000 in UK Power Networks and 120,000 in the Scottish & Southern networks. 

The clean-up expected to take several days. The Met Office has issued a less-severe yellow wind warning for much of the south coast of England and South Wales on Saturday, which it said ‘could hamper recovery efforts from Storm Eunice’.

Many train services remain suspended on Saturday morning and ‘do not travel’ notices are in place for routes including the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern networks. Passengers are still being asked to avoid travelling where possible. 

South Western Railway expects ‘significant disruption’ across its network in the morning, while Great Western Railway services are suspended until at least 10am and others suspended until at least 1pm.

Greater Anglia and Stansted Express have suspended all services due to multiple trees on the line with trains not running until after 10am.

Meanwhile, Avanti West Coast expects some routes to remain closed until mid-morning with some rail replacement bus services, while LNER has announced ‘possible disruption’ through Saturday morning and Southeastern is cancelling services throughout the morning ‘at least’ due to more trees having fallen onto lines overnight.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told broadcasters this morning that the public should expect disruption for the rest of the day.

He said: ‘Teams have working through the night to try to get road and rail reopened. But of course, expect disruption today –trains are in the wrong locations, there’s still debris being removed from our roads, airports are expected to be very busy with people catching up with flights.

O2 Arena ‘could be closed for MONTHS’ after 122MPH Storm Eunice ‘whipped off’ its dome roof – as gigs are cancelled and music fans face uncertainty over coming performances 

The O2 could be closed ‘for months’ as music fans face uncertainty over upcoming performances at the venue after Storm Eunice ripped the dome’s roof apart.

The popular arena in London ‘s Greenwich was hard-hit by Friday’s fierce winds, which hit a record 122mph, with large sections of the canvas roof being torn away.

Dramatic photographs and videos appear to show that at least six sections of the roof, which measures 1200ft (365m) in diameter, have been shredded.

Around 1,000 people were evacuated from the venue on Friday as firefighters rushed to the scene to make sure ‘no one was injured by any further falling debris’.

After The O2 closed due to the damage, an employee told The Mirror that they had been warned the venue could be closed ‘for a few months’ while repairs are underway. 

‘So expect disruption, do check before you travel… but things are returning to normal.’ 

London Fire Brigade said it took 1,958 calls on Friday as Eunice hit the capital – three times more than the previous day. The service tweeted: ‘Although the worst of #StormEunice is over its affect may extend into the coming days. Please be aware of the potential for loose structures or falling debris’.

A spokesman for the Severn crossings this morning confirmed the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge was fully open and expected to remain so. But the M48 Severn Bridge will remain closed due to the Met Office forecast of further high winds. 

As of early Saturday morning the National Rail website still listed no services for: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, Grand Central, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Heathrow Express, South Western Railway, Stansted Express and Transport for Wales.

Meanwhile, CrossCountry Trains has asked passengers not to travel on Saturday ‘following cancelled strike action’.

The provider wrote on Twitter: ‘Whilst a strike has been called off, we have not been able to reinstate our timetable. An amended timetable runs today.’

Cancellations are in place between the following stations: Aberdeen and Edinburgh; Glasgow Central and Edinburgh; Derby and Nottingham; Peterborough and Stansted; Cheltenham Spa and Cardiff Central; Newton Abbot and Paignton; Exeter St David’s and Penzance; Reading and Bournemouth.

Meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said Eunice was one of the worst storms in decades. He said: ‘The 122mph statistic was a new provisional record for England in terms of wind gusts.

‘But it’s also about how widespread the storm was, so we will be looking at whether this storm was worse than the Burns Night storm (in 1990), or the one in 1987 when gusts were around 80 to 90mph – but the damage may have been more widespread.’

Mr Dewhurst added that gusts reached 70mph at Heathrow, where planes struggled to land and thousands of people tuned in to watch on YouTube channel Big Jet TV, and 59mph in inner-city London.

He warned travellers to brace for more windy weather in the coming days.

‘We’ll see gusts through the day of up to 40 to 60mph, particularly around the coasts,’ Mr Dewhurst said.

‘This will have an impact on the clearing up process over the course of the day. We will see a slight easing in the wind over the evening time tonight but it’s not long before they pick up again tomorrow to lead to another windy day across the UK.’

Millions of people were urged to stay at home on Friday due to safety fears over the impact of Eunice, while transport woes meant many were unable to travel.

Do not travel alerts were issued across railways in England and Wales on Friday, as seven operators suspended all services, with footage showing a building roof being blown on to tracks.

The train operators which stopped running all services on Friday afternoon were: c2c, Chiltern Railways, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, South Western Railway, Southeastern and Transport for Wales.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Ofgem published interim reports into the fallout from Arwen this week. It criticised the response from energy companies and accused them of providing ‘overly optimistic’ estimates for when supplies could be restored.

Ministers yesterday scrambled to reassure the public that lessons had been learnt. Damian Hinds told Sky News: ‘Over the longer term, a lot of learning has been done from Storm Arwen, particularly on welfare issues, staying in touch with people, staying in touch with customers for the networks.’