Violent storms that have been sweeping northern Europe have already claimed more than 30 lives. Germany has been one of the worst hit areas. Heavy rains were coupled with hurricane-force winds of up to 170 kilometres per hour, ripping up trees and damaging buildings. A 73-year-old man and an 18-month-old baby were killed in separate incidents of doors being ripped off their hinges in the gale. And a fireman was killed by a falling tree.
At the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the storm caused an oil spill when a drifting container ship hit an oil jetty. As in Germany, the public was warned to stay indoors. Those that did venture out, had to battle the elements – four people were killed.
The highest death toll was in Britain where at least a dozen people lost their lives. Winds there were the severest recorded since 1990. Power cuts left more than 100,000 without electricity.
There was trouble too for vessels that were already at sea when the storm broke. One ship is listing off the coast of Cornwall.
The crew of the MSC Napoli has been rescued but there are fears it may lose its cargo of explosives, insecticides and pesticides.