CORNWALL Council is urging people across the county to take precautions and only travel if absolutely necessary after an amber weather warning was issued for this Friday (February 18).

Forecasters from the Met Office have warned that Storm Eunice is expected to cause significant disruption in the South West, peaking between 3am and 9pm.

The storm is likely to be as powerful as those that affected Cornwall in 2014, while forecasters have warned it still has the potential to strengthen further.

The whole of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – in particular the Cornish north coast, as well as that of North Devon – can expect:

• extremely high winds, with gusts of up to 80/90mph even 100mph around the coast and beaches especially around high tide;

• widespread and major disruption to travel, with all forms of travel impacted (road, rail, air, sea, ferry);

• structural damage;

• mobile homes being overturned;

• communications and power outages;

• fallen trees;

• very hazardous conditions for the public;

• temporary structures (e.g., trampolines) being lifted and blown onto roads and railways.

The worst of the winds are set to coincide with high spring tides along the Cornish coastline at around 6am, leading to overtopping and possible flooding. People are urged to stay back from cliffs and seafronts due to the danger of large waves.

The areas expected to be worst affected include:

• St Ives Harbour

• St Ives, Porthminster Beach

• Portreath

• Perranporth

• Porth

• Mawgan Porth

• Polzeath

• Port Isaac

• Widemouth Bay.

Residents are urged to pay close attention to the weather forecast over the next two days and are urged to only travel on Friday if absolutely necessary.

You can view the current weather warnings at the Met Office’s website.

For advice and guidance on protecting yourself and your home from flooding, please call the Environment Agency’s Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

If you wish to report damage to roads or pavements that is causing an immediate danger, please call the council on 0300 1234 222.

If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you are in danger, please call 999.

Meanwhile insurance company Zurich UK has warned that a surge in sales of garden equipment during the COVID lockdowns last year could now cause a spike in property damage. Households are therefore urged to secure patio tables, chairs and trampolines as the country weathers the back-to-back storms of last night and today’s Storm Dudley and then Friday’s Storm Eunice.

Claire Varney, a property claims expert at Zurich UK, said: “We’re closely monitoring the two back-to-back storms and have put our surge plans in place to deal with any influx in claims.

"The winter storm season has already hit the UK hard, with Storm Arwen one of the most destructive storms of recent years. With Storm Dudley, followed by Eunice, forecasted to bring dangerously high winds it’s vital that everyone takes steps to protect their property.

“The most common claims from windstorms include dislodged roof tiles, damage to flat roofs and broken guttering. We also see a high proportion of claims for conservatories, greenhouses and boundary walls.

“We could see an increase in damage caused by flying garden furniture after sales of outdoor equipment soared during the pandemic. Households invested in sheds, trampolines, patio tables and chairs as families spent more time socialising outdoors.

"Garden furniture and storm-tossed trampolines can cause damage to windows and fences, while shed roofs are vulnerable to being torn off. As we brace ourselves for another wave of extreme winter weather, it’s a good idea to safely store or secure outdoor equipment to reduce the risk of damage to your home.

“Strong winds also wreak havoc with cars, which are vulnerable to falling branches, tiles and other debris. Those who can, should park their car in a garage or away from trees."

She added: “Making a claim might seem daunting, especially if you’re already dealing with the stress of storm damage to your home. Most insurers have 24-hour emergency helplines, as well as online claims portals, and will be prepared for more calls

“If the worst happens, and your property is damaged, take photos of any damage if it’s safe to do so, make simple emergency repairs if possible and get in touch with you insurer as soon as you can."