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Storm Elsa devastates southern Europe

December 20, 2019

Storm Elsa has caused at least five deaths and major destruction in Spain, Portugal and southern France. The region is bracing for another storm over the weekend.

Flooding in Trofa Trofa, Portugal
Image: Imago Images

A fierce storm sweeping across Spain and Portugal has killed at least five people, damaged buildings, cut power lines and shut roads hit by flooding and fallen trees, officials said on Friday.

Storm Elsa hit southern Europe on Wednesday before increasing in intensity later on Thursday. It will be followed by a second storm, Fabien.

Read more: Germany among top three countries suffering most from extreme weather events

One man died when his house collapsed in northern Portugal on Thursday, while another was crushed in his truck by a falling tree near Lisbon.

A Christmas tree lies on the ground after crashing down during storm Elsa in Chaves, Portugal
A Christmas tree lies on the ground after crashing down during storm Elsa in Chaves, PortugalImage: MIGUEL CARVALHO via REUTERS

Power cuts in France

Three others died in Spain on Thursday and Friday: one killed by a collapsing wall, one swept away by floodwaters and one in a landslide.

Nearly 140,000 people have been left without power in southern France, while 17 others were evacuated from a building which had its roof ripped off by high winds. 

Storm Fabien is expected to pack even higher wind speeds and create more damage in southern Europe over the weekend.  

Portuguese civil protection commander Pedro Nunes forecast that weather conditions would worsen on Friday evening and through the night.

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ed/cw (AFP, Reuters)