Storm Sabine/Ciara pummels UK, starts hitting Germany | News | DW | 10.02.2020
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Storm Sabine/Ciara pummels UK, starts hitting Germany

A major winter storm — named both Ciara and Sabine — has passed through large swaths of Europe, resulting in a number of deaths across the continent. Weather services say the worst is yet to come for parts of Germany.

Watch video 01:46

Winter storm batters British Isles and continental Europe

The UK on Monday morning was assessing the damage caused by winter storm Ciara — also called Sabine — which blew through late Sunday and overnight, as Germany and other parts of Europe await a similar fate. 

There were reports of deaths directly connected to the storm across Europe. Three drivers — one in the southwest of the Czech Republic, one in northern Slovenia, and another in southern England — were killed after their cars were hit by falling trees.

In southern Poland, a woman and her daughter were killed after the storm ripped the roof off a ski rental equipment building in the mountain resort of Bukowina Tatrzanska, striking people standing near a ski lift, according to local police. Two others were left injured.

In southern Sweden, one man drowned after his sail boat capsized in the lake of Fegen. He was washed ashore and later died. Another person who was in the boat is still missing, according to the Swedish daily Aftonbladet. 

Hurricane-force winds and heavy rains grounded flights, canceled trains and shut down operations at major ports across western Europe from Sunday. The UK's Meteorological Office issued more than 250 flood warnings, and at least 10 British rail companies issued "do not travel" warnings. Other British rail lines told passengers to expect delays. 

High waters at Newhaven, with lighthouse (picture-alliance/dpa/AP/M. Dunham)

The UK was battered by Ciara/Sabine

Storm surges in coastal cities pounded beaches and docks. The English port of Dover and France's port of Calais on either side of the English Channel shut down ferry operations for several hours amid choppy conditions. The Poole offices of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in southwest England shared astonishing footage of one of their boats almost capsizing during a rescue mission. 

The strong winds also enabled a British Airways plane to make the fastest New York-to-London flight by a conventional airliner, completing the 3,500-mile (5,630-kilometer) journey in just under five hours, 102 minutes ahead of schedule. A total of three commercial flights were able to easily beat the previously held subsonic record of 5 hours and 13 minutes.


Though weather observers said the UK had seen the worst of the storm by Sunday evening, other parts of Europe on Monday were still bracing for it to strike or intensify.

Car hit by tree (imago images/localpic)

Across Europe, cars were hit by falling trees

The storm  was largely over in northern Germany as of Monday morning, but weather authorities said it was still coming for the south.

Gusts measuring over 170 kilometers (106 miles) per hour were reported in the Black Forest in southern Germany Monday morning. Weather officials said the storm would carry on for several hours, with the heaviest rains and strongest winds expected in the south.

Utility companies in northern Bavaria struggled to restore power to about 50,000 homes early Monday.

Hundreds of flights were canceled, and all long-distance train travel was put on hold until appropriate weather conditions could be confirmed. German railway company Deutsche Bahn said Monday it was beginning to resume long-distance rail services in northern Germany but warned commuters of expected further disruptions. 

Multiple injuries due to downed trees have been reported since Sunday. Two women in in the city of Saarbrücken in western Germany were in the hospital after a tree fell on their car. One remains in critical condition. A 16-year-old in North Rhine-Westphalia also sustained head injuries from a falling tree.

Overnight winds in Frankfurt blew a crane into the roof of the city's cathedral, where it became stuck.

The storm led to a number of school closures across the country.

Germany issued its second-highest storm warning level for the entire southern half of the country. In parts of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, the highest-level warning, No. 4, has been issued.

kp,mvb/msh (AP, dpa, epd)

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