Recording-breaking winds in France and across much of Western Europe left at least seven people dead and injured others as Storm Ciarán swept through the continent overnight and into Thursday.
Recording-breaking winds in France and across much of Western Europe left at least six people dead and injured several others as Storm Ciarán swept through the continent overnight and into Thursday, plunging vast numbers into darkness, devastating homes and causing travel mayhem in several countries.
Winds of more than 190 kph slammed the northern tip of France’s Atlantic coast, uprooting trees and blowing out windows.
According to French Transport Minister, Clement Beaune, a truck driver was killed when his vehicle was hit by a tree in northern France's inland Aisne region. A 70-year-old man fell off of his balcony in Le Havre. Another person was badly injured at a university in the northern city of Roubaix, and 15 other people were hurt around western and northern France. Seven of the injured were emergency workers.
About 1.2 million French households were left without electricity on Thursday, electrical utility Enedis said in a statement including about half of the homes in Brittany, the Atlantic peninsula hardest hit by Ciarán. Enedis said it would deploy 3,000 workers to restore power when conditions allowed.
The wind reached up to around 160 kph on the Normandy coast and up to around 150 kph inland. Fishing crews stayed ashore. Local authorities closed forests, parks and beachfronts in some regions.
In Spain, where the storm battered much of the country with heavy rains and gale-force winds, emergency services in Madrid said a woman died Thursday after she was hit by a falling tree. Three other people were slightly injured in the incident on a city centre street. Parks in the capital and other cities in Spain were closed, and several trains and flights were cancelled.
One person died in central Ghent, Belgium, when they were hit by a falling tree. Another person was injured during the same incident. Local and national authorities warned residents to avoid green spaces for fear of falling trees. Belgian media also reported in the port city of Antwerp, one man was seriously injured when a wall collapsed under the pressure from the high winds.
A storm warning was issued for the North Sea coast in Germany, and a warning of high winds for part of the Baltic Sea coast. Authorities said that a 46-year-old woman was fatally injured by a falling tree in the Harz mountains in northern Germany.
Thousands were also without power in the United Kingdom. Sharp gusts blew roofs off buildings and toppled trees. Some had to evacuate their homes and seek refuge in hotels as Ciarán hit the south of England.
Hundreds of schools stayed closed in the southwest England coastal communities of Cornwall and Devon, as downed trees and flooding hindered morning commutes all across the southeast.
Rail companies urged commuters to work from home if possible because of possible falling trees and debris on the tracks. P&O Ferries said tourist traffic was being sent away from the Port of Dover, which has suspended sailings. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency urged people to keep away from the coast.
“Stay out of dangerous situations,’’ the agency tweeted. “A selfie in stormy conditions isn’t worth risking your life for.”
On the islands last night, winds gusted between 144 kph and 160 kph for three hours smashing windows, damaging cars and tearing roofs from buildings. Flights from airports on the islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney were cancelled.
Dutch media reported that several people had been hit by falling trees in different parts of the Netherlands, and one person was killed in the southern town of Venray.
Dutch airline KLM scrapped all flights leaving and arriving in the Netherlands from the early afternoon until the end of the day, citing the high sustained wind speeds and powerful gusts expected in the country.