Fierce storm in Europe kills 8, causes travel disruptions


Berlin: Ferocious winds, with gusts over 200 kph (125 mph), lashed Corsica and whipped up a forest fire that flared overnight on the French Mediterranean island Tuesday, after a storm with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains battered northern Europe for days, killing at least eight people and causing severe travel disruptions.

More than 300 fire officers were involved in fighting the blazes and two ports were closed and flights suspended on Corsica. Power was cut to 2000 homes.

The storm also continued to batter other parts of Europe. Fallen trees blocked roads and train tracks in southern Germany and Austria.

The Austrian city of Salzburg near the German border was hit by the storm Tuesday. Public broadcaster ‘ORF’ reported that more than 400 firefighters worked for hours to remove downed trees from crushed cars and roads. They also had to remove a huge metal roof that was blown off a building. No one was injured, ‘ORF’ reported.

German railroad operator ‘Deutsche Bahn’, which had shut down all long-distance trains Monday, said most of its service resumed Tuesday with the exception of some trains in southern regions that were still being battered by gusty winds. Schools across Germany reopened.

Deaths due to the fierce storm were reported in Poland, Sweden, Britain, Slovenia, Germany and the Czech Republic. Polish officials reported Tuesday a third storm-related death in the country, saying a relative of two people killed Monday when the roof of the ski rental building collapsed also died.

In northern Bavaria, where a gust of over 160 kph (100 mph) was recorded, the storm produced a record amount of electricity being fed into the German grid from wind turbines, equivalent to almost 44 nuclear power plants.

In England and Scotland, the Met Office national weather agency still had 85 flood warnings in force as torrential rains caused numerous rivers to overflow their banks.

Further north, in Norway, water from the North Sea overflowed harbours and entered houses along the country’s southern coast, causing damage but no victims. Local airline ‘Wideroe’ canceled 21 departures because low pressure over northern Norway meant its small planes couldn’t fly, the Norwegian news agency ‘NTB’ reported.




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