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Storm 'Egon' brings chaotic winter weather to Europe

Flooding, snowfall and high winds have swept across the UK and continental Europe. Airport cancellations and power outages have resulted from the wintry conditions.

As inhabitants in Europe and Great Britain headed to sleep on Thursday night, storm Egon bore down on the region, causing transport complications and power outages in numerous countries Friday morning.

Flooding in England

The storm first dug into Britain during the evening hours of Thursday, bringing heavy snow to Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of England. The Environment Agency issued severe flood warnings for coastal areas of South East England where gale-force winds and heavy rain posed a threat to life. Parts of the seaside counties of Suffolk, Essex and Lincolnshire were evacuated and authorities offered shelter for displaced residents and their pets.

London's Heathrow Airport canceled 80 flights in advance of the inclement weather on Thursday evening, though a return to the normal flight schedule was expected Friday.

Deutschland Sturmtief Egon Autobahn 4 bei Gummersbach (picture alliance/dpa/M. Becker)

Snow caused traffic jams for many in North Rhine-Westphalia on Friday morning

Flight delays and high winds across Germany

Egon also caused Frankfurt's international airport, Germany's busiest, to cancel 125 of the approximately 1,100 scheduled flights for Friday.

"The storm was so strong that the airplane handling crews had to be temporarily stopped," a spokesperson for the Frankfurt airport company told AFP.

In Lower Franconia (or Unterfranken), a region of northwest Bavaria, the storm prevented school buses from picking up students to take them to school.

Though Egon did not immediately deliver the feared heavy snowfall in North Rhine-Westphalia, the storm did drop enough to make morning commutes messy. In addition, the low-pressure front's high winds felled trees, pushed cars and trucks into roadside ditches, and knocked over street signs in much of Western Germany. In Rhineland-Palatinate, winds reached a speed of up to 148 kilometers an hour (92 miles an hour.)

The storm is expected to continue bringing high winds and snow to Eastern Germany throughout the day, causing further delays and potentially dangerous situations. 

Deutschland Sturmschäden in Wiesbaden (picture-alliance/dpa/Wiesbaden112 GbR)

High winds uprooted trees and damaged street signs and houses

Night on train in northern France

In France, Egon caused power outages for over 330,000 households concentrated especially in the northern Normandy and Picardy regions. Passengers on the Thalys high-speed train that runs from Brussels to Paris were forced to spend the night on the train after it was forced to stop on the tracks because of damage to the contact line. The train eventually arrived in Paris on Friday morning significantly later than its expected Thursday evening arrival.

The south of France also experienced Egon's full meteorological force. In the town of Saint-Jeannet near Nice, a woman was killed by a falling cypress tree Friday morning while taking her children to school. 

Dangerous roads and canceled trains in Switzerland

Swiss rail and road travelers faced train delays and icy roads on Friday morning as Egon's winds reached hurricane force of 154 kilometers per hour (96 miles per hour) in the area west of Zurich.

The Swiss Federal Railway closed sections of track south of Lake Constance and canceled trains in the Basel area. A 10-car collision in a highway tunnel further tied up traffic due to wintry conditions.

cmb/msh (dpa, AFP)

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