Mon, Jan 10, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Storm kills 10 in northern Europe

HURRICANE-STRENGTH A massive storm lashed the northern parts of Europe, packing wind speeds of more than 121kph and closing airports and some key bridges

AP , STOCKHOLM

The harbor of Esbjerg in southern Jutland, Denmark, is flooded by North Sea waters yesterday. One man died, tens of thousands of households were without power and dozens of ferry routes were cancelled as a fierce storm swept across Denmark and western Sweden on Saturday, officials said.

PHOTO: AFP

At least 10 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were without power when a storm with hurricane-strength winds swept through northern Europe late on Saturday and early yesterday.

Key bridges and airports were temporarily closed, while rail and ferry traffic was suspended.

In Sweden, at least six people were killed, including two whose cars were struck by falling tree branches, police and rescue officials said.

In Denmark, one motorist was killed when a tree crashed onto his car in Odense, 170km west of the capital, Copenhagen. Three others were killed by debris and falling trees.

Meteorologists described the storm as one of the worst to hit Scandinavia in years. The winds were clocked in some areas at more than 121kph.

Ferry traffic between Sweden, Denmark and Germany was heavily disrupted, with dozens of delays and cancellations, while floods inundated parts of Britain and left one ferry stranded.

In the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, winds damaged houses and forced train and ferry links and highway bridges to shut down. Two 20-year-old men whose kayak capsized on a lake near the town of Landwedel were missing, police said.

Airports in Copenhagen and Malmoe, Sweden's third largest city, were closed on Saturday night with many inbound flights rerouted to Stockholm, among them one carrying Sweden's Queen Silvia, who was on her way to Malmoe to attend a memorial service for people killed in the Asian tsunami.

Five of Sweden's 11 nuclear reactors were closed temporarily when salt water was blown into electricity distribution plants.

"Power supply has not been affected so far because of the weekend, but there may be problems on Monday [today] when work starts again,''said Jan-Erik Olsson, press spokesman for the Sydkraft utility company.

Many roads in southern Sweden were flooded, and citizens were urged to stay indoors. Bridges between the island of Funen, where Odense sits, and Zealand, where Copenhagen is located, were closed. Also closed was the bridge linking Copenhagen and Malmoe.

In southern Sweden, virtually all trains were canceled, and more than 410,000 households were without power yesterday morning, authorities said.

In Denmark, about 60,000 households lost electricity.

In Malmoe, a game in Sweden's top hockey league was stopped during the third period after the strong wind caused the roof of the arena to sway.

In neighboring Finland, sea levels reached record highs, cutting off several roads on the southern and southwestern coasts, but no major damage was reported. Several ships stayed in port after meteorologists issued storm warnings. Also, rescue teams piled thousands of sandbags and large bales of recycled paper on the waterfront in downtown Helsinki near the president's palace where the sea rose 1.5m above normal levels onto the streets and market place.

There were more than 100 flood warnings across England, Scotland and Wales, and thou-sands of homes had no electricity in central and southern England.

Carlisle, in northwest England, was deluged by water when the River Eden burst its banks and cut off roads.

Police asked boat owners to help them reach residents, and military helicopters were called in to evacuate at least 15 people from flooded homes.

"We've rescued a 90-year-old man. We've had a family including a young baby rescued out of an upstairs window," said Royal Air Force spokesman Mike Mulford.

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