11 DEAD AS STORM LASHES NORTHERN EUROPE

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A photo shows an uprooted tree that fell on a houseboat at the Jacob van Lennepkade canal in Amsterdam following a heavy storm on Monday (Tuesday in Manila). AFP PHOTO

A photo shows an uprooted tree that fell on a houseboat at the Jacob van Lennepkade canal in Amsterdam following a heavy storm on Monday (Tuesday in Manila). AFP PHOTO

LONDON: At least 11 people were killed on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) as a fierce storm tore across northern Europe, causing mass disruption to transport.

Four people were killed in Britain and three in Germany as heavy rain and high winds battered the region. The storm also claimed two victims in The Netherlands, one in France and one in Denmark.

Rough conditions at sea also forced rescuers to abandon the search for a 14-year-old boy who disappeared while playing in the surf on a southern English beach on Sunday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron described the loss of life as “hugely regrettable.”


Winds reached 99 miles per hour (mph) (159 kilometers) on the Isle of Wight off the southern English coast, according to Britain’s Met Office national weather center, while more than 500,000 homes in Britain and France were left without power.

Heavy rain and winds of 80mph elsewhere brought down thousands of trees and left hundreds of passengers trapped in planes at Copenhagen airport.

Some 460,000 homes lost power across Britain, with a further 75,000 homes affected in northern France, according to industry organizations. Thousands were later reconnected.

The electricity also went down at a nuclear power station in southeast England. Dunge-ness B station automatically closed down both its reactors, leaving its diesel generators to provide power for essential safety systems.

The storm sparked mass cancellations of train services across southern England, Denmark, The Netherlands and parts of Germany, while a spokeswoman for Co-penhagen’s main airport said some 500 people were trapped in their planes when strong winds made it impossible to connect stairways to the exits.

The airport later said it was closed for all inbound and outbound traffic.

London’s Heathrow airport cancelled 130 flights, about 10 percent, while delays were reported on the Eurostar cross-Channel train service due to speed restrictions.

More than 450 people were stranded on two ferries outside the English port of Dover after it closed for more than two hours, finally docking shortly after 9 a.m.

Even Buckingham Palace in London was affected, although Queen Elizabeth II was not staying there at the time.

A spokeswoman said several slates fell off the roof and two of the windows were cracked.

And Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had to cancel his monthly press conference because the government building where he works was closed after a crane fell on the roof.

The Met Office said 50 millimeters (almost two inches) of rain fell in some areas of Britain overnight, while the Environment Agency issued around 130 flood alerts.

The storm was named Chris-tian in France and dubbed St Jude by the British media, after the patron saint of lost causes whose feast day is on Monday.

It had been predicted to be the worst for a decade but the devastation was not as bad as many feared, and fell far short of that caused by the “Great Storm” of October 1987.

During that storm, 22 people died in Britain and France and the damage was estimated at £1 billion ($1.6 billion, or 1.2 billion euros).

AFP    

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