Deadly storm batters northern Europe

At least thirteen killed as fierce winds cut power and cause widespread travel disruption.

    Hurricane strength winds lashed Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia on Monday, killing at least thirteen people, cutting power and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights and train journeys.

    At least thirteen storm-related deaths were reported, according to the Associated Press news agency, most victims crushed by falling trees. Germany had six deaths, Britain had five and the Netherlands and Denmark had one each. One woman was also missing after being swept into the surf in France.

    A 17-year-old girl was killed when a tree fell onto her home while she slept in the county of Kent, southeast of London, while a man in his 50s was killed when a tree crushed his car in the town of Watford, just north of the capital.

    This one is developing as it crosses the UK, which is why it brings the potential for significant disruption...and that doesn't happen very often.

    Helen Chivers, British Met Office

    A crane smashed into the Cabinet Office, a ministry in the heart of London, forcing Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to cancel a press conference.

    Heavy winds also swept across the Netherlands, uprooting trees and shutting down all train traffic to Amsterdam. They were forecast to peak at more than 130 kph by early afternoon.

    A woman was killed and two people were seriously hurt by falling trees in the Dutch capital and a ferry carrying 1,000 people from the English city of Newcastle was unable to dock in the port of IJmuiden and returned to sea, RTL television said.

    Fifty flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport were cancelled and Rotterdam Port, Europe's busiest, said incoming and outgoing vessels were delayed.

    In France, winds topping 100kph struck the north and northwest, felling trees, whipping up seas and cutting power supplies to around 75,000 homes, according to the ERDF electricity distribution company.

    'An unusual storm'

    "The thing that's unusual about this one is that most of our storms develop out over the Atlantic so that they've done all their strengthening and deepening by the time they reach us," said Helen Chivers, spokeswoman for Britain's Met office on Sunday.

    "This one is developing as it crosses the UK, which is why it brings the potential for significant disruption ... and that doesn't happen very often."

    The worst of the storm in Britain had passed by late morning, despite strong winds still battering the east coast, a Met Office spokeswoman said, and it had moved across northern France by the afternoon.

    The strongest winds are now over the northern Netherlands, northern Germany and Denmark, with the storm also expected to move onto the coast of Finland early on Tuesday.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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