Europe Storm Kills at Least 11, Halts Travel for Millions

Joann Johnston
January 21, 2018

Falling trees killed two 62-year-old men in the Netherlands, a woman south of the Belgian capital of Brussels, a 59-year-old man camping in the German town of Emmerich and a firefighter in the German town of Bad Salzungen.

Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport has suspended all flights and the Dutch national rail service halted all trains as a powerful storm lashes the Netherlands, toppling trees and blowing over tractor trailers, and causing traffic chaos.

In Germany, eight deaths were confirmed and dozens more were injured, the AP also reported. At least 66 trucks were blown over by the wind. "The decision to put the safety of our passengers and staff above everything else was the right one", he said, referring to the decision to halt all long-distance trains during the storm.

At least 260 flights were scrapped and falling roof tiles led to the closure of airport terminals.

Three people were killed in the Netherlands and three people died in Germany on Thursday as powerful winds toppled trees, blew trucks off the road and forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights. It said it had dispatched emergency crews to deal with storm damages. A second death occurred when a tree killed the driver of a vehicle in Enschede, near the German border.

In Britain, power was knocked out to thousands of homes.

Water authorities in the low-lying nation closed an inflatable storm barrier east of Amsterdam to prevent flooding as the storm pushed up water levels.

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The port of Ghent in Belgium was closed because of the unsafe winds as well as tram traffic being stopped in parts of the capital of Brussels.

Dutch insurers said on Friday (Jan 19) that fierce storms that whipped across The Netherlands caused 90 million euros (S$146 million) in devastation, as the country's train service slowly creaked back into gear.

The national weather service in Holland recorded 140km/h wind gusts in the Hook of Holland port as the storm went past.

Schools remain closed in many parts of Germany as the country prepares for a winter storm that's expected to come in from the west and bring heavy snow, rain and gusty winds.

German Railways said on its website that many trains would decrease their speed because of the storm and that delays are expected.

Elsewhere in Europe, Tyrol state in western Austria said part of the Westbahn train line linking Vienna, Linz and Salzburg was closed on Thursday morning because of avalanche risk, national railways company OeBB said.

Regional trains were also halted across northern and eastern Germany and some other areas, it said in a statement.

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