Many colleges have closed for the day after strong winds from Storm Eunice battered parts of south England.
The Met Office issued a “rare” red warning for southwest coastal areas of the country, where the most significant gusts in exposed areas could be in excess of 90mph.
A red warning was also issued for much of southeast England, including London, with forecasters saying that “extremely strong winds” are likely to cause disruption and dangerous conditions.
Forecasters warned of flying debris resulting in danger to life, damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down and cancellations across bus, train, ferry services and flights.
Many colleges across the affected regions have closed campuses and told students to stay at home – with most switching to online learning for the day.
In Hampshire large numbers of colleges decided to close.
“College closed tomorrow (18 February) Due to Storm Eunice all college sites will remain closed tomorrow. Students should follow their normal timetables online via Microsoft Teams,” said a statement on Brockenhurst College’s website.
Eastleigh College, also in Hampshire, closed its campus and put out a message saying that learners who were concerned about their safety or wellbeing should contact their college’s safeguarding team.
Other colleges closed in Hampshire included Fareham College, Havant College, Portsmouth College, South Downs College and Southampton City College.
In the southwest of the country, where the Met Office warned of large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and homes, colleges also issued notices for students and staff to stay at home.
“Due to the rare red weather and amber warnings for Cornwall and Devon, we will be switching to online learning for Friday 18th February and all our campuses will be closed,” said a statement on Cornwall College’s website.
“Our first priority is always the safety of all students and staff, which is why we have made this decision.”
The college said staff were working on sorting arrangements for residential students, high needs students and those who were set to do exams.
Despite the strong winds not all colleges in red weather warning zones decided to shut down campuses.
In Essex, the Colchester Institute issued a statement saying that college sites would remain open to staff or students who were intending to attend the institute’s campuses.
“However, campus users should heed the national weather warnings in place, and, in particular travel is not advised between 10am and 3pm when a red weather warning is in place,” the statement said.
In London only a handful of colleges kept their doors closed, including John Ruskin College, Newham College and WMC – The Camden College.
Many other colleges in the city decided to remain open despite the red weather warning from the Met Office.