Tue, Oct 29, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Hurricane-force gusts batter northwest Europe

AP, LONDON

Theo Harcourt, a 13-year-old student, jumps over a fallen tree as he makes his way to school in Islington, north London, yesterday, after strong storm winds and rain battered southern parts of England and Wales.

Photo: Reuters

A major storm with hurricane-force gusts lashed southern Britain, the Netherlands and parts of France yesterday, knocking down trees, flooding low areas and causing travel chaos. Four deaths were reported.

Weather forecasters say it is one of the worst storms to hit Britain in years. Gusts of 160kph were reported on the Isle of Wight in southern England, while gusts up to 130kph hit the UK mainland.

UK Power Networks officials said up to 270,000 homes were without power. Flood alerts were issued for many parts of southern England and officials said hundreds of trees had been knocked down.

London’s Heathrow Airport canceled at least 130 flights and express trains between central London and Gatwick and Stansted airports were suspended. Huge waves prompted the port of Dover to close, cutting off ferry services to France.

Thousands of homes in northwestern France also lost electricity, while in the Netherlands, several rail lines shut down and airport delays were reported. People in the Netherlands were warned against riding their bicycles.

Some English rail lines also closed yesterday morning, and some roads were closed because of fallen trees and power lines. There were severe delays on many parts of the London Underground and London Overground trains were delayed by several hours.

In Kent, police said a 17-year-old girl died after a tree fell onto the camper home she was sleeping in. Hertfordshire police said a man in his 50s was killed when a tree fell on a car in Watford. A teenage boy drowned on Sunday after being swept to sea while playing in the surf at Newhaven.

Amsterdam police said a woman was killed when a tree fell on her in the city.

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