Travel disrupted and schools shut as hurricane-force winds pound northern Europe

10 February 2020, 10:04

A tree blocks a road near Frankfurt
Germany Europe Weather. Picture: PA

The fierce winds knocked out electricity in northern France

Hurricane-force winds and heavy rain have battered northern Europe as the continent felt the impact of Storm Ciara.

The weather brought travel disruption to a number of countries, with Lufthansa in Germany saying flight cancellations and delays would run until at least Tuesday morning. The airline planned to keep operating long-haul flights at its main Frankfurt hub.

Eurowings, a budget subsidiary of Lufthansa, cancelled most flights for the duration of the storm.

Brussels Airport also saw delays or cancellations.

Two huge ports on either side of the English Channel, Dover in England and Calais in France, shut down operations amid high waves.

The fierce winds knocked out electricity in northern France. Paris authorities sent out a warning to residents and tourists alike to stay indoors for their own safety. Parks and cemeteries in the city of Lille and nearby towns shut down amid the strong winds and open-air markets closed early.

Luxembourg and the German city of Cologne announced that all school children could stay home on Monday to avoid travelling under dangerous conditions.

A woman crosses a deserted street in Frankfurt
A woman crosses a deserted street in central Frankfurt (Michael Probst/AP)

In Germany, where the storm was known as Sabine, national railway operator Deutsche Bahn cancelled long-distance trains to destinations most at risk, including Emden and Norddeich in the north-western corner, the northern city of Kiel and the North Sea island of Sylt.

“We have learned from previous storms that it’s better not to have trains travel into critical regions in the first place,” said Deutsche Bahn spokesman Achim Stauss. “What we want to avoid is trains getting stuck between stations.”

Teams of railway employees fanned out with chainsaws to remove any fallen trees blocking the tracks.

Stormy weather
People walk on top of the Feldberg mountain in a strong storm near Frankfurt (Michael Probst/AP)

Utility companies in the country have been scrambling to restore power to some 50,000 homes in northern Bavaria.

In Denmark, flights were cancelled out of Copenhagen. Danish authorities warned motorists not to cross large bridges, including the Great Belt Bridge that links eastern and western parts of Denmark.

By Press Association

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