Storm Ciara leaves trail of de­struc­tion across Europe

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Frank­furt, Ger­many - Fierce winds and heavy rains claimed at least three lives across north­ern Europe on Mon­day as Storm Ciara dis­rupted travel, grounded hun­dreds of flights, flooded roads and left vast areas with­out power.

In one of the re­gion’s most vi­o­lent storms for years, one man died and an­other was re­ported miss­ing in south­ern Swe­den when their boat cap­sized.

In south­ern Poland, at Bukow­ina Ta­trzan­ska, a 40 year old woman and her young daugh­ter were killed by roof­ing torn away by the storm-force winds, po­lice in Zakopane said.

Po­lice in Lon­don said on Mon­day that a man had been killed in his car on Sun­day when a tree fell on to a mo­tor­way south­west of the cap­i­tal.

In the west of Ger­many, fall­ing trees se­ri­ously in­jured three peo­ple: two women in Sar­rebruck - one of whom was in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion - and a 16 year old boy in Pader­born.

And in the Czech Re­pub­lic, a man was in­jured by a fall­ing tree. Winds of up to 180km an hour left 100,000 with­out power, even top­pling over a truck.

The storm has swept across the re­gion since the week­end.

It caused ex­ten­sive flood­ing in Eng­land, cut power to 130,000 homes in north­ern France and played havoc with air, rail and road travel in sev­eral coun­tries.

It forced more than 700 flights in four Ger­man cities - Frank­furt, Mu­nich, Dus­sel­dorf and Cologne - to be can­celled.

In the Nether­lands, around 220 flights were can­celled on Mon­day morn­ing at Am­s­ter­dam’s Schiphol air­port - Europe’s third-busiest - most des­tined for other Euro­pean cities. Around 240 never took off on Sun­day.

And hav­ing closed one of the big storm surge bar­ri­ers as the tem­pest ap­proached Sun­day night, Dutch po­lice re­ported more than 600km of traf­fic jams on Mon­day.

Tiny Lux­em­bourg can­celled school classes, and in the Bel­gian cap­i­tal Brus­sels, morn­ing rush­hour traf­fic ground to a halt due to street clo­sures and flood­ing.

In the Ger­man city of Frank­furt the winds top­pled a crane on to the roof of the cathe­dral, caus­ing ex­ten­sive dam­age.

In Paris, trees brought down by the winds dis­rupted lo­cal rail lines, caus­ing com­muter chaos.

Bri­tain’s news­pa­pers and the coun­try’s Met Of­fice on Mon­day de­scribed Ciara as ‘the storm of the cen­tury’ in terms of the scale of the de­struc­tion it wrought.

And Met Of­fice me­te­o­rol­o­gist Alex Burkill warned, “While Storm Ciara is clear­ing away, that doesn’t mean we’re en­ter­ing a qui­eter pe­riod of weather.”

“Bliz­zards aren't out of the ques­tion.”

In north­ern Eng­land, the West York­shire towns of Heb­den Bridge and neigh­bour­ing Mytholm­royd were among the worst hit by the storm, sub­merg­ing cars and cut­ting power to tens of thou­sands.

More than 170 flood warn­ings re­mained in place Mon­day.

Much of the ini­tial dam­age and dis­rup­tion was along north­ern Europe’s coast­line.

Chan­nel ferry ser­vices be­tween the south­ern English port of Dover and Calais in north­ern France re­sumed on Mon­day morn­ing af­ter be­ing halted on Sun­day.

A whole Bel­gian off­shore wind farm was shut down as pow­er­ful gusts caused the tur­bines to stop au­to­mat­i­cally for safety rea­sons.

The storm was so vi­o­lent that ‘we are forced to com­pletely stop main­line train traf­fic in Ger­many this Sun­day evening’, Deutsche Bahn spokesman Achim Stauss said.

And it played havoc with Europe’s sport­ing cal­en­dar, caus­ing the can­cel­la­tion of top-flight football fix­tures in Bel­gium, Eng­land, France, Ger­many and the Nether­lands.

While Storm Ciara is clear­ing away, that doesn’t mean we’re en­ter­ing a qui­eter pe­riod of weather

Alex Burkill

(AFP)

A man pho­to­graphs while wa­ter spills over a quay in the East­ern end of Lake Con­stance (Bo­densee), as Ciara reaches Aus­tria on Mon­day

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