Powerful storm wreaks havoc across western Europe

Germany woke up to scenes of devastation Friday after a powerful storm flattened buildings, disrupted transport links...

Posted: Jan 19, 2018 2:44 PM
Updated: Jan 19, 2018 2:44 PM

Germany woke up to scenes of devastation Friday after a powerful storm flattened buildings, disrupted transport links and killed at least six people.

Police said two of the dead were firefighters killed by falling trees and debris, while a 68-year-old van driver was killed when his vehicle was blown onto the other side of the street.

In the city of Cologne, where the airport was briefly closed Thursday, a baby was born in a car after road closures made it impossible for the mother to reach hospital, the city's fire service said.

German railway operator Deutsche Bahn suspended all long-distance rail traffic Thursday. It has resumed long-haul services in some areas, but warned of possible delays.

Rail services in North Rhine-Westphalia and parts of Rhineland-Palatinate, in the west of the country, remained suspended and would not resume service Friday, according to Deutsche Bahn.

The storm, called Friederike, had winds stronger than 100 kph (60 mph), and is now headed toward Poland, where it's strength is expected to lessen, according to CNN Weather anchor Tom Sater.

On Thursday, Netherlands' Schiphol Airport was forced to close temporarily, with the cancellation of at least 320 flights in and out of the facility in Amsterdam, a key European transport hub.

Strong winds also blew roof plates off buildings, forcing the airport to close two departure entrances. Photographs showed people waiting at Dutch train stations as rail services were canceled.

In the UK, windstorms brought down trees and caused temporary power outages in parts of the country, and public transport was also affected.

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