A major incident has been declared by London Fire Brigade as Storm Eunice rages across the capital.

The Brigade made the announcement in response to the volume of 999 calls being taken involving Storm Eunice-related incidents.

Its control room took 550 calls between 10.30 this morning and 1pm - which is more than the average number usually taken in a 24-hour period.

The storm, which forecasters have warned could be the worst in 30 years, has caused chaos across London with winds of up to 100mph recorded in some areas.

Social media has been flooded with pictures and videos of the damage caused by the storm, which includes trees falling on cars and the canvas roof of the O2 arena being ripped off.

The Brigade attended a number urgent incidents today (February 18) .

These include scaffolding in Islington and a large container on top of a high rise building both reported to be in a precarious position.

It reports that firefighters are still meeting the needs of London's communities, but it says that declaring a major incident will allows them to focus their resources.

Control staff have introduced batch mobilisation to certain incidents.

This means calls where there is a risk to life are prioritised and crews then attend other calls as non-emergencies when possible.

Due to the high volume of calls, the Brigade has advised people to only call 999 if there is an emergency or if there’s an immediate risk to life.

Control Officers have taken a number of unhelpful calls, including to a tent which had blown into a neighbour’s garden and to a trampoline which was blowing around in the garden next door.

The Brigade’s deputy assistant commissioner Richard Welch said: “We are here to respond to genuine emergencies so we would ask people to only call 999 in that situation or if there is an immediate risk to life.

“Our control officers and firefighters have been incredibly busy today and we want to ensure our resources are ready to respond to people who really need our help.”

They also advise people to call their local council if a tree has come down in the road or speak to their insurance company if a tree has fallen on their property or vehicle.

Firefighters are reiterating their advice to ensure loose items on and around properties are secured.

Londoners are urged to stay indoors where possible and only travel if "absolutely necessary".

Mr Welch added: "Firefighters are ready and prepared to deal with incidents involving weather, whether that be flooding or high winds.

“We are continuing to work with our partners to ensure that our staff, vehicles and equipment are available to allow us to protect Londoners.

Follow our live London blog on Storm Eunice by clicking here

The Brigade’s storm-related safety messaging:

  • Stay inside if possible and only travel if you need to. If you do need to travel, check your journey before you set out – with TfL or National Rail – and be aware of areas where you are likely to be exposed to side winds or falling debris.
  • If you are outside, don’t shelter under trees.
  • Please only call 999 in an emergency or if there is a risk to life. Calling about anything else prevents us from dealing with urgent calls. If a tree has fallen, report it to your local council.
  • You should, if you haven’t already, ensure loose items around your home and on balconies, like garden furniture, are secured or safely stored away.
  • If you have a power cut, take extra care with candles. Place them in fire resistant holders on a flat, stable surface where they won’t be knocked over. Make sure you put them out when you leave the room and especially before bed.
  • Check in on your neighbours by phone, particularly those who are vulnerable.