Clean-up begins as St Jude storm claims at least 13 lives

Millions of euro worth of damage caused to buildings and infrastructure across Europe

The remains of the tower of one of the two twin windmills of Greetsiel, northern Germany. Photograph: Ingo Wagner/AP

The remains of the tower of one of the two twin windmills of Greetsiel, northern Germany. Photograph: Ingo Wagner/AP

Wed, Oct 30, 2013, 01:00


Mainland Europe began a massive clear-up job on Tuesday after the previous evening’s storm, one of the most powerful in years, left at least 13 people dead.

The storm crossed the UK and France before hitting the Netherlands, Denmark and northern Germany. Wind speeds reached a record 191km/h on the German North Sea island of Helgoland.

Hurricane-force winds uprooted trees, warped scaffolding and toppled power lines, causing blackouts and massive transport disruption across the northern continent.

Seven Germans were killed in the storm, mostly as a result of uprooted trees falling on cars. Other victims included a drowned sailor and an angler. An elderly woman died when a wall collapsed on her.


Standstill
Train traffic came to a standstill on Monday evening in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

All trains were cancelled in Hamburg for a time, and the airports in both Hamburg and Düsseldorf were closed, leaving some 1,000 passengers stranded.

Several motorways blocked on Monday by fallen trees were still not open yesterday evening.

The storm claimed five lives in Britain, including that of an Irishman.

About half a million homes were affected by the storm, and 60,000 remained without electricity yesterday.

A 17-year-old girl was killed in Kent when a tree collapsed on her mobile home. Train traffic in southern England came to a standstill, as did Eurostar trains to France.

Flights and ferries from Britain, cancelled on Monday, were operating to their regular schedule yesterday.

The Netherlands was badly hit by St Jude, with winds toppling trees and sinking houseboats on Amsterdam’s city-centre canals. Public transport ground to a halt and at least two people were killed.

A woman was killed instantly by a falling tree in Amsterdam, while a 24-year-old man cycling in the central city of Veenendaal was also struck by a tree and died of his injuries in hospital.

In Denmark, a man was killed after being struck by an airborne brick in winds of almost 200km/h.

Monster waves stirred up by the storm were also responsible for dragging at least two people out to sea.

In France, a 47-year-old woman was found dead after being swept out to sea during a cliff walk on Belle Île, an island off the coast of Brittany.