Kew Gardens, Chiswick House & Gunnersbury Park close for storm Eunice

Image above: Chiswick House; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Battening down the hatches for storm Eunice

Kew Gardens, Chiswick House & Gunnersbury Park will all be closed on Friday 18 February as storm Eunice blows through.

Gunnersbury Park put out a message on their social media on Thursday afternoon saying:

“At 10:30pm tonight we will close the park gates and the entire estate will remain closed over the weekend. We will be reviewing the situation on Monday and will make a decision then about when we can reopen safely.”

Chiswick House posted:

“Due to forecast high winds due to #stormeunice, Chiswick House & Gardens will be completely closed on Fri 18 Feb. We hope to re-open the gates by 8.30am on Sat 19 Feb, after our gardeners have completed a safety check to ensure there is no risk to visitors, staff & volunteers.”

Image above: Kew Gardens; photograph Emma Martin

Winds up to 90mph expected

Kew Gardens are saying:

“Due to the strong winds and wet weather forecast we have taken the difficult decision to close Kew Gardens on Friday 18 February to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors. Ticket holders will be contacted. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The Met Office has issued a rare red warning – the highest level warning for severe weather – for parts of south-west England and south Wales on Friday, meaning there is a danger to life from flying debris.

It is expecting Storm Eunice will bring gusts of wind up to 90mph, causing significant disruption to transport networks and homes, with power cuts and train cancellations expected. Many schools are also closing as a precaution.

Image above: Chiswick House conservatory; photograph Nick Raikes

Chiswick House trees date back to 1720s

Chiswick House told The Chiswick Calendar they do not recall having to close the park for a weather event for at least two years. The gardeners at Chiswick House care for 1500 trees across the Gardens, which are home to bats, birds and insects.

The garden staff survey them and manage the growth under the trees to keep them healthy, as well as regular cutting back each autumn. The oldest trees in the gardens date back to the 1720s, when William Kent first worked on the Garden.

No need to raise the Thames flood barrier

The Thames barrier will not need to operate during Storm Eunice, according to flood experts at the Environment Agency. The Forecasting and Response team say the tide level in the tidal Thames could be as much as 1.5m below published tide tables, as strong southwest/westerly winds are set to create a large negative surge for the Thames Estuary, pushing the water away from us.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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