Storm batters northern Europe, leaves over a dozen dead
A powerful storm that swept across the United Kingdom and into northern Europe left over a dozen dead, thousands without power, and many stranded at airports.
Named St Jude, the storm landed in the UK over the weekend before making its way to the continent on Monday (28 October).
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Strong winds, with 160km gusts reported in some areas, knocked down trees and powerlines, blew off rooftops, paralysed train networks, and forced flight cancellations in the UK and the Netherlands.
The fatalities, with seven alone in Germany, were caused mostly by falling trees. Five are reported dead in the UK, with one each in Denmark and the Netherlands.
A 14-year old boy was swept out to sea in southeast England late Sunday evening.
In France, a woman was reported dead after being swept out to sea while out for a walk on an island off France’s northwestern Brittany coast.
The Danish capital saw record gusts of up to 120mph.
Worst hit was the southern part of the country and the Copenhagen area, reports Reuters.
More than 100 Danes are reported hospitalised with one killed after a 21-year old man went out to make photos in the storm and was struck by a collapsing wall.
Bridges linking Denmark and Sweden were shut.
London’s Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest international hubs, cancelled 130 flights.
Schiphol airport in Amsterdam cancelled 50 flights. Incoming and outgoing vessels in Rotterdam Port were delayed.
Eurostar, which runs high-speed trains between the UK and mainland Europe, saw some delays but resumed normal operations.
Around 600,000 homes in the UK are said to have lost power with many reconnected shortly afterwards. The ERDF electricity distribution company says some 75,000 homes in France lost power.
In Sweden, some 60,000 homes lost electricity.
Swedish media, which refer to the storm as ‘Simone’, say many roads in the country remain blocked due to trees but reported no causalities.
“It went pretty well. I think people have listened to the warnings and have not been out on the roads,” a deputy spokesman of police in Kalmar and Kronoberg told Svenska Dagbladet.
The storm had lost most of its force by the time it landed in Finland and Estonia on Monday evening.
“The night was reasonably quiet,” a meteorologist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute told YLE on Tuesday (29 October).
He said high winds caused some power outages in the southern part of Finland.