Britain and Ireland have felt the full force of Europe’s worst winter storm so far, and the weather is forecast to remain grim into the weekend. Four people have died, three in road accidents, the fourth when a wall collapsed. A deep depression hit northern Ireland, then swung across Britain before moving into northern France, the Netherlands and Denmark, bringing near-hurricane force winds, rain, flooding and snow in Scotland.
Transport havoc extended onto the high seas, and the crew of a container vessel was forced to abandon ship in the English channel after it began to sink. 26 sailors were winched to safety in a dangerous rescue operation. Along the channel coast, France is also being severely buffeted, and 15 departments are on orange weather alert. Inland winds of 150 kilometres an hour are being recorded from the massif centrale to the Voges. The high winds are expected to last until early tomorrow morning. At least two people have been killed. “The depression’s moved very rapidly from Ireland through Denmark, with a very very fast western airstream. On this map you can see the isobars are very tight, which is generating these south-westerly gales,” said a French forecaster.
The Germans have actually issued a hurricane warning and given it a name. Hurricane Kyrille is expected to cause a lot of damage, and precautions including school evacuations and telling people to stay at home are being issued. At least three people have been killed and the railway network has been paralysed.