This week much of Wales and southern England were hit by storm Eunice. The storm was winter windstorm. The storm was judged by the UK Met Office to be severe enough to warrant a “red: threat to life” warning across much of the country. Coming to Wales from Houston, severe storms are not a unique experience however, as tropical storms and hurricanes hit the gulf coast fairly frequently.
The storm hit the UK on Friday, and as a result all classes were canceled. This however did not have a huge impact on my campus, as the lecturers are already halfway through a two-week strike. The storm, unlike the ones I have experienced living in Texas, was relatively minor. Myself and all my flat mates were unharmed by the storm. No buildings on campus were damaged, and to my knowledge no one on campus was harmed.
It was very windy, and one could hear the strong gusts of wind whipping against the windows, but it was not accompanied by rain or floods. It is still for the best that many schools and businesses were closed, however, as the wind was strong enough to knock down a few trees. The storm has been described by various UK media outlets as the worst the nation has seen in decades. This comes as somewhat of a surprise when compared to the storms Houston and other areas near the Gulf of Mexico face.
In hindsight it is somewhat funny, but the way the storm was described in its lead up caused my family to worry a lot, as when they heard a storm was approaching the first thing that came to their minds was the familiar: a hurricane. I received messages from family members warning to be prepared for a storm much more severe than what the UK receives. To be prepared for the power and water to go out, and even for the roof of the building to be damaged or ripped off.
Thankfully none of this came to pass, as the worst form of storms the UK gets are typically weaker than a category one hurricane. When compared to Hurricane Harvey, which was a category four hurricane that hit Texas, British storms are relatively less intimidating. Whereas Harvey badly damaged peoples homes, flooded streets, and even flooded my high school at the time, Eunice was caused me no such trouble.
The recent events do demonstrate why when studying abroad it is important to pay attention to the news of your host country. It is also best to familiarize yourself and your family with the weather of your host area and the type of storms you could potentially face. This can both prepare you and your family where necessary and keep family members from unnecessary anxiety. Just as the strikes did before, it also shows that students should be prepared for disruptions that can come from the social and physical environment of their place of study.