Three killed as severe storm lashes Netherlands

Air traffic, trains and buses halted nationwide after Code Red weather alert is issued for large parts of the country.

Dutch storm
The Dutch meteorological institute KNMI issued a Code Red for the storm, bringing wind speeds up to 140 kp/h [EPA]

At least three people were killed and several others injured in the Netherlands due to a severe storm, as gusts of up to 140 kilometres per hour blew down trees and damaged buildings.

The three fatalities occurred in separate incidents in the centre of the Netherlands, where falling trees and building debris hit the elderly victims. 

All flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport were cancelled, and, nationwide, trains, trams and buses were halted after the highest weather alert was issued for large parts of the country.

At least 260 flights were scrapped at Schiphol.

“Due to severe weather conditions: all air traffic has been suspended until further notice,” the airport tweeted.

At least three people were wounded when ceiling panels came down at the entrance of the departure halls at Schiphol due to the strong winds. 

Videos posted on social media showed pedestrians being swept off their feet by gusts in the city of Den Bosch, while other footage showed extensive damage to properties in the west and centre of the Netherlands.

National broadcaster NOS reported that the main railway station in The Hague was closed because of fears that parts of its new glass roof would be blown off, while large stacks of containers in the port of Rotterdam came down in the storm.

By midday on Thursday, at least 25 lorries had been tipped over by wind gusts on highways, Dutch traffic control agency VID reported.

Whole roofs were torn off homes in Rotterdam and Egmond aan Zee, as police said thousands of calls were received from people reporting damage across the country.

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute issued a Code Red, the most severe weather warning, for large parts of the country, and said wind gusts had reached 140kph in the southern port of Hoek of Holland.

UK, Belgium and Germany 

Gale-force winds have also been recorded in the UK, where thousands of homes in southeast England have been left without electricity.

The wind has damaged some of the overhead power lines that supply trains, and brought trees crashing onto the tracks, causing severe delays for thousands of commuters. Some service to London’s King’s Cross station has been disrupted.

Driving conditions in parts of Scotland are extremely hazardous, with officials advising motorists to stay off the roads because of blustery winds, heavy snow and icy conditions.

In Belgium, the port of Ghent was closed because of the high winds. In Germany, schools remain closed in many parts of the country, as the storm was expected to come in from the west and bring heavy snow, rain and gusty winds.

Authorities warned Germans, especially in the west and the north of the country, to not leave their homes on Thursday if possible.

Source: Al Jazeera