A powerful storm spawned furious winds across Europe on Thursday, killing at least seven people in three countries while toppling trees, ripping roofs off buildings, and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
In Germany, a 59-year-old man was killed by a falling tree in Emmerich near the Dutch border, a spokesman for the town told Reuters, while in the western German town of Lippstadt a driver died when he lost control of his van in strong winds and drove into oncoming traffic. In the eastern part of the country, a fireman was killed when a tree fell on him in the town of Bad Salzungen, police said.
Elsewhere across the region, falling trees killed two 62-year-old men in the Netherlands and a woman south of the Belgian capital of Brussels.
Police spokeswoman Jose Albers told Dutch national broadcaster NOS that authorities also were investigating whether the powerful gusts were also to blame for the death of a 66-year-old man who fell through a plexiglass roof in the central town of Vuren.
The national weather service recorded wind gusts of up to 86 mph in the southern port of Hook of Holland as the storm passed over, which also caused Amsterdam’s Schiphol to briefly halt flights for an hour in the morning.
The airport also said “a few roof plates” were detached from the terminal building due to the high winds.
Traffic on Dutch roads was also plunged into chaos by the storm, with the wind blowing over tractor trailers, toppling trees and hampering efforts to clean up the mess.
Before halting all trains, the Dutch rail service reported numerous incidents including a collision between a train and a trampoline. In Amsterdam, a man had a narrow escape when a tree was blown over onto his scooter. He escaped unhurt.
In Britain, power was knocked out to thousands of homes as wicked winds damaged overhead power lines that supply trains and brought trees crashing onto the tracks.
National Rail services across suffered weather-related delays, with trains hitting fallen trees, dislodged fence posts and even two sheds which blew on to the tracks between Newtown and Welshpool, the rail service said.
Siobhan Smith, who lives in north London, told Sky News she woke up to find her chimney pot had blown down in the night, damaging a car.
“The road outside has been cordoned off and police are managing the traffic,” she said. “The fire service will be stabilizing the building once the wind has died down.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.