Storm Xaver has barreled down on northern Germany with high winds and flooding as a result of raised sea levels. The storm had already battered northern Britain killing three people.
Xaver brought a fierce and stormy night to many parts of Germany. The North Sea continued to batter against dikes in the early hours of Friday, with storm winds snapping trees and damaging buildings in the country's north.
In the port city of Hamburg, the flood reached a level of 6.09 meters above sea level by 6:30 a.m., however, despite danger warnings being issued ahead of the surge, the water level has already begun to recede. The storm has caused only a few accidents involving injuries in Germany.
The German transport ministry said until Sunday people should limit travel by road and rail to journeys which are "absolutely necessary" as train services were also restricted.
In preparation for the storm In Hamburg schools and Christmas markets were closed and ferries to Germany's North Sea islands were kept in port. Warnings were also made in adjoining states of Schleswig-Holstein and Bremen. Amid the preparations, Germans were reminded of a fatal storm and flood in1962 that killed more than 300 people.
Xaver from the north
On Thursday the storm cut transport and power in northern Britain killing three people.
Fatalities from the storm included a truck driver killed in Scotland when winds overturned his vehicle. In England a man on a scooter was crushed by a falling tree.
Meanwhile in Jutland, Denmark a 72-year-old woman motorist died when her car was swept off a road.
Oil and gas producers in the North Sea cut production and evacuated staff from some platforms.
On Germany's North Sea island of Sylt gusts of up to 174 kilometers per hour (108 miles per hour) were recorded. Earlier in Scotland, winds of 225 kilometers per hour had been measured.
For the first time in six years, the low-lying Netherlands closed its Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier, which was erected after a 1953 storm disaster.
The Oresund Bridge that links Sweden with Denmark was closed mid-afternoon Thursday.
hc/ccp (Reuters, AFP, dpa)