Thousands of people were watching live as the plane landed at Heathrow Airport as Cyclone Eunice unleashed fierce winds of up to 122 mph.
The storm – considered one of the worst in decades – was causing widespread disruption across the UK with dozens of flights cancelled.
The temperature is said to be the worst in more than 30 years, with scientists warning it would be associated with rare gusts of wind last seen during the Great Hurricane of 1987.
Hurricane Eunice has downed power lines, uprooted trees and closed schools in its devastating path, and more is to come.
The extreme conditions have sparked two rare red weather warnings and stay-at-home orders.
The Met Office also issued a “danger to life” warning, expecting “flying debris”.
And nearly 130,000 people tuned in to watch an intense live stream from Big Jet TV of planes landing in fierce winds at Heathrow Airport.
Dozens of pilots were forced to stop landing in dangerous conditions and perform a U-turn – as they returned to the sky and made another attempt to land safely.
Airports across the UK issued warnings to passengers to check in for their flights and arrive early if they go ahead.
London City Airport has canceled all flights until 16:30pm, while a large number of flights have been canceled at London Heathrow.
At Heathrow, at least 65 flights – both departures and arrivals – were canceled and another 114 were delayed by more than 15 minutes, according to aviation data provider FlightStats by Cirium.
Read ours Storm Eunice’s travel live blog for latest update
Heathrow urged passengers to stay up to date with the latest information as “high winds and bad weather can cause last-minute delays”.
Airline British said on Twitter: “Incoming flow rates at London Heathrow are being reduced due to strong winds.
“If you’d like to change your flight, send us a direct message with more information and we’ll be happy to look into this for you.”
The airline said in a statement: “Due to severe weather conditions across the UK and resulting restrictions on the number of aircraft that can take off and land per hour, we and the airlines no different, is experiencing significant disruption.
“We’re operating as many flights as possible and booking larger planes where possible. Customers taking short-haul service today can re-register for free on ba.com. Customers whose flight is canceled is being contacted to offer options including a full refund.
“Safety is always our priority and we encourage customers to check the latest flight information on ba.com before arriving at the airport.”
EasyJet has also been forced to cancel some flights from Gatwick and Bristol Airports.
Gatwick Airport tweeted: “Weather alert. Please note that due to Hurricane Eunice, there is potential for disruption of flights and shuttle service to North terminal on Friday, between 10am and 10am. until 4 pm.
“Please arrive earlier if you are flying from Gatwick.”
A spokesman for the East Midlands said: “When strong winds are forecast, it’s less about wind strength and more about direction.
“With strong winds forecast for the coming days, we advise passengers to contact their airline if they have concerns about a flight.”
Elsewhere, power lines were cut and roofs were blown off, and thousands of people lost power.
More than 55,000 homes, farms and businesses woke up without power in Ireland this morning, and more disruptions are expected later today.
Gusts hit 92mph on the Isle of Wight this morning, with wind speeds subsequently hitting a staggering 122mph – the third highest on record in the UK, breaking 118mph in 1979.
The Met Office said it was also the heaviest wind gust ever recorded in the UK.
Forecasters initially issued amber warnings for winds, but today these warnings have been upgraded to red following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dudley on Wednesday.
Now, soldiers are preparing to deploy in the worst-affected areas, and Britons are told to travel only if “truly necessary” and to work from home if possible.
Two red wind warnings are in effect for southern England – one covering the southeast from Ipswich to Portsmouth, including London, and the other extending from Cardiff down to the furthest tip of Cornwall.
It was the first time such a warning had been issued in the capital, prompting Sadiq Khan to urge the British to knock down the hatches and stay inside.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17693931/tens-of-thousands-watch-planes-heathrow-airport-storm-eunice/ Tens of THOUSANDS of thousands watched as fighter jets landed at Heathrow Airport as Hurricane Eunice unleashed fierce winds of up to 122mph