Death toll rises as storm moves across Europe

10 February 2020, 20:24

Fallen trees on a house in Montmollin, Switzerland
Switzerland Weather. Picture: PA

Two women, a mother and her daughter, died in Poland after the storm ripped off the roof of a ski rental equipment building in a mountain resort.

A storm has battered Europe with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains, killing at least seven people and causing severe travel disruption as it moved eastwards across the continent.

After striking the UK and Ireland on Sunday, the storm moved on, leaving a trail of damage including power cuts for tens of thousands of homes across Europe.

A woman and her 15-year-old daughter died in Poland after the storm ripped off the roof of a ski rental equipment building in the mountain resort of Bukowina Tatrzanska and sent it hurtling on to people standing near a ski lift, police said. Three people also injured in the incident.

The roof of a house is damaged in Rohozna, Czech Republic
The roof of a house is damaged in Rohozna, Czech Republic (Lubos Pavlicek/CTK/AP)

In Sweden, one man drowned after the boat he and another person were sailing in on the southern lake of Fegen capsized. The victim was washed ashore and later died. The other person is still missing, according to the Aftonbladet daily.

Two men, one in the north of Slovenia and another in southern England, died after their cars were hit by falling trees, and in Germany, a driver died after crashing his truck into a trailer parked by workers clearing storm debris off a road in the southern state of Hesse.

Police in the Czech Republic said the storm was probably to blame for a car accident that killed the man driving and injured a woman passenger. Investigators think a tree fell on the car, which skidded off the road and and overturned.

The number of Czech households without electricity reached 290,000, according to power company CEZ.

The storm had largely passed through France by midday, although meteorologists warned that the Mediterranean island of Corsica could later see winds as high as 200kph (124mph). Up to 130,000 homes stretching from Brittany in western France through Normandy and the northern regions were without power on Monday morning.

In Germany, utility companies were scrambling to restore power to 50,000 homes in northern Bavaria, where a top wind of over 160kph (100mph) was recorded. The storm resulted in a record amount of electricity being fed into the German grid from wind turbines, equivalent to almost 44 nuclear power plants.

A tree lies on a car in Hamburg, Germany
A tree lies on a car in Hamburg, Germany (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP)

Train travel across Europe’s biggest economy was also severely disrupted, leaving many commuters unable to get to work. Deutsche Bahn said it was slowly resuming long-distance rail services in the north of the country but warned travellers to expect further disruption. Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights from German airports.

The storm also led to school closures in several cities and regions, including North Rhine-Westphalia state, where several people were injured by falling branches and toppling trees. Parts of a construction crane fell on to the roof of Frankfurt Cathedral overnight.

Even though there were no reported fatalities in Belgium, the storm had an emotional impact in the central town of Zottegem, where a scenic 150-year-old poplar tree was snapped at its roots, before falling on to a country road.

The tree had been granted protected status by the Flemish regional government and locals now plan to have a special remembrance service on Friday.

By Press Association

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