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Pattaya Daily News

19 January 2007 :: 15:01:04 pm 31088

Killer Storms Lash Northern Europe

As if to confirm the reasons for the Doomsday Clock’s advance to five to twelve, with its prediction of dire climatic change, Northern Europe was plunged into turmoil on Thursday. From Ireland to the Czech Republic, hurricane-force winds and torrential rain storms, have so far killed 27, paralyzed travel networks and wrought immense chaos across the continent.
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With wind speeds as high as 184 kph (109 mph), Britain and Germany have sustained the most damage. According to the BBC, the storms are the worst for 30 years. Rail networks in Germany and Holland were virtually shut down. ”’Things have ground to a halt — this is unprecedented. We have never yet had such a situation in Germany,” said German rail boss Hartmut Mehdorn after hurricane-force winds lashed the network. Eurostar international trains between France, Britain and Belgium were also halted”, Reuters reported.

Airports at Heathrow, Frankfurt, Dublin, Munich, Amsterdam and Vienna were forced to cancel many flights and US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice’s, plane circled Heathrow for 15 minutes before landing with winds gusting to 77 mph.

Road traffic accidents account for most of the deaths with ten motorists killed in Britain; seven in Germany; four in the Netherlands, three in the Czech Republic, two in Belgium and one in France. Debris, fallen tress and overturned vehicles littered the roads across the continent.

At sea the picture was no better with Anglo-French ferries cancelled and maritime rescues hampered in Ireland and Latvia. Seven fishermen from Ireland, Poland and Ukraine are missing, presumed dead off the Irish coast, though 26 sailors were saved as their container ship began to sink in the English Channel. Oil spills were reported from a damaged ship in Latvia and approximately 10,000 barrels of oil leaked from a severed oil pipeline hit by a ship near Rotterdam which had burst loose from its moorings.

Millions of Euro’s worth of damage was caused by the storms: roofs were severely damaged at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London and Amsterdam’s Central Station, and Berlin’s Central Rail Station was evacuated after winds dislodged a steel support weighing several tons, hurling it to the ground. In London, dramatic pictures were broadcast by the BBC of a scaffolding tower collapsing and in another incident a falling wall killed a boy.

“What’s unusual about this storm is that it will affect the whole country and not just certain areas,” said Christoph Hartmann, a spokesman for Germany’s DWD meteorological service was reported as saying by Reuters. Following its pounding of Western Europe, the storm is continuing east into Poland, the Czech Republic and northern Austria, leaving turmoil in its wake.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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