Storm Shakes Northern Europe | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 09.01.2005
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Storm Shakes Northern Europe

At least 16 people died, more than 1,000 homes were flooded and hundreds of thousands left without power after violent storms battered northern Europe over the weekend, bringing hurricane force winds and heavy rain.


At least 11 people were killed in Denmark

German police said Sunday that two boating enthusiasts who went missing after their kayak overturned in strong winds as a storm lashed the north of the country overnight had most likely died.

They probably drowned in the Brahmsee lake in the region of Schleswig-Holstein on Saturday, as a storm dubbed "Erwin" with wind gusts of more than 180 kilometers (110 miles) per hour, hit, injuring at least two other people.

Rail services in the state, which borders Denmark, ground to a halt overnight as trees were brought down over tracks, but were running virtually normally again early on Sunday, police said.

In neighbouring Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, a 41-year-old man received serious head injuries when he was trapped under a falling tree. A second man, aged 59, was injured when winds dislodged a metal container he had sought shelter behind.

Sturm an der Nordsee Hafen in Kiel

A sailing boat is stuck between two others at Kiel's Olympic harbor in northern Germany

Road traffic also came to a standstill on the North and Baltic Sea coasts, on the bridge over the Kiel Canal linking the two seas, and on the one connecting the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn to the continent. Ferry services too were disrupted.

At least 14 dead

Elsewhere in northern Europe, the storm also claimed lives and caused severe damage. Denmark, Sweden and the British Isles were worst affected, with 100 people forced to spend the night on a ferry after it ran aground Saturday in southwest Scotland, while a Dutch freighter issued a mayday call off the Danish coast.

The passenger ferry was later floated and towed to its berth after more than 30 hours at sea, with none on board injured, while the 15 crew members of the Dutch cargo ship which got into difficulties were rescued.

Sturm an der Nordsee Kuh in Schweden

A cow looks out from under the rubble of a cow-shed in Kristianstad, southern Sweden on Sunday. A storm wrecked the shed Saturday evening, but the salvaging of the 65 cows inside could not begin until Sunday.

At least 11 people were reported dead in Denmark and Sweden, leaving 405,000 households without power, disrupting road and rail traffic and causing heavy damage.

In Britain three people were found dead in Carlisle in northwest England, where one of the worst storms for decades brought flooding and high winds, police said, though they were unable to give the cause of death.

Some people in the town had to be rescued by helicopter from the roof of their houses surrounded by floodwater and cars were seen floating down streets.

Fifteen families had to be airlifted to safety while thousands of other people left their homes on their own initiative, police said.

More bad weather expected

"It's probably one of the most severe (storms) we've seen since the storm of 1987," said a spokesman for the British Meteorological Office, Andy Bodenham, adding that more bad weather was on the way.

"The outlook is still quite changeable," he said. "We are expecting another deep depression to arrive. We've got some strong storm force winds (coming) tonight but a more intense depression looks likely to arrive on Tuesday, but this time affecting Scotland, rather than the more built up areas."

In southern Sweden, four motorists were killed when uprooted trees fell on their cars. A fifth was killed by a passing car when he tried to remove a fallen tree from a road, and another man sustained fatal injuries on his farm when bales of hay came crashing down on him during the storm.

Yet another man fell to his death from the roof of his home as tried to secure tiles, media reported.

Many homes without power

In Denmark, police said two motorists died when trees tumbled onto their cars. Two other people were killed when they were hit by a roof that blew off a building in nearby Assens.

Winds in western Denmark reached speeds of up to 151 kilometers (94 miles) an hour when the storm hit on Saturday, the Danish DMI meteorological service said.

Many homes were left without power. In Sweden alone, some 405,000 households were left without electricity by Sunday, primarily in the southern and western parts of the country, power companies Vattenfall, Sydkraft and Fortum said.

Sturm an der Nordsee

Bracing the winds at Germany's North Sea coast

In Russia authorities in Saint Petersburg closed off embankments to traffic and shut six subway stations as high water levels threatened the former imperial capital with flooding. Several regions of northern Poland were also hit by high winds and more than 100 people were evacuated from coastal towns in western Estonia as the storms hit regions on the Baltic Sea causing flooding.

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