Storm Eunice: Falling buildings, stranded ships, crazy swimmers … and a happy seal

If online journalism and digital analytics have taught us anything, it’s that’s readers can’t get enough of the weather — especially when the weather goes wild.

To that end, the arrival of Storm Eunice yesterday, was always going to be *the* story of the day.

We took a look at NewsWhip’s data to see which stories about Storm Eunice from the regional press attracted the most attention online.

In Manchester, news that a Mosque tower was in danger of collapsing was the most ‘social’ story published by the Manchester Evening News about the storm.

In Wales, details of how a roof have blown off a school was the story with the highest number of interactions for WalesOnline.

Hyperlocal website Island Echo scored the third most social weather story of the day, with news that wind speeds had hit 125mph, the strongest ever, on the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight County Press also covered the story .

MyLondon was next with news that a woman had died after a tree fell on a car, followed by KentOnline with coverage of how Storm Eunice had hit the county hard.

Ian Carter, editorial director at Iliffe Media, said: “I’ve seen some fantastic coverage of #StormEunice across our websites today — and indeed across the whole of the regional press. Well over 110,000 readers on @Kent_Online alone. Maybe some of those quick to criticise our sector and our journalists will remember that in future.”

KentOnline’s photos of a power station’s towers toppling due to high winds also attracted a lot of interest.

News of a lion enclosure being destroyed by Storm Eunice, from the Eastern Daily Press, was next, followed by KentLive’s coverage in the South East when a rare red weather warning for the region.

Details of the O2 arena’s roof being ripped off — perhaps one of the most dramatic moments captured yesterday — attracted a lot of interest for the Evening Standard, while one of the more peculiar side effects of the storm — windows being covered by dirt — was a talking point in Cornwall.

Back in Wales, there was understandably a lot of traction for reports of lorries being blown over on the M4, again by WalesOnline.

Elsewhere, the Southern Daily Echo reported on a roof being blown off a house, while in Portsmouth, the News reported on how shoppers had a near miss after a large sign fell into the street from a bingo hall. In Bournemouth, falling roof from a hotel left a man injured, the Echo said, while in Cambridge, CambridgeshireLive reported on a dog walker trapped under a tree.

Then there were the passengers on the ferry trying to dock in Portsmouth who presumably would rather be anywhere other than on that boat.

Indeed, it was a Nightmare on the Solent for 90 passengers stuck at sea trying to get to the Isle of Wight in another incident, said the County Press.

“The St Faith crew have been giving refreshments to customers — for those who can still stomach them amid the conditions in the eastern Solent — force 11, gusting 12,” the Press told readers.

For some people, it was impossible to get too close to the storm. Still in Portsmouth, the News reported on thrill-seekers back-flipping into the sea. In Devon, DevonLive shared a warning from authorities after surfers were spotted in the sea. In Liverpool, the Echo reported on coastguards ordering swimmers out of surging seas.

Further north, the problem wasn’t just the wind — but snow too. The Press and Journal in Aberdeen reported on the conditions drivers were facing.

Big Jet TV was a big hit yesterday — and plane stories did well in local papers too

We all know aeroplanes were a hot topic yesterday, as seen with the success of BigJetTV — and they proved to be popular on local news sites too. EdinburghLive reported on a plane ‘pulling a mid-air U-turn’ after things became too windy in London. BelfastLive reported on a plane which ended up landing in the wrong country as a result of the storm. BristolLive reported on a flight aborting its landing twice due to the weather before later revealing how passengers had formed an ‘angry mob’ at the airport.

The Yorkshire Evening Post shared horror stories of passengers trying to land at Leeds Bradford Airport.

And perhaps proving there is almost no story which can’t involve an animal in some way or another, we finish with PlymouthLive. One of its most popular storm stories was Spearmint the seal enjoying the waves in the Ocean City. While in Essex, the Echo reported on the safe return of a pet owl which went missing after its aviary was destroyed.

  • In 2022, Behind Local News aims to celebrate local journalism in all its forms through our 365 Acts of Local Journalism Project. Lets us know what you think should be included. You can email us here or contact us via Twitter on BehindLocalNews or on Facebook here.

>> See the series so far, here

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