Five dead as strong winds hit central and northern Europe

Rail traffic suspended and thousands without power following winds of up to 180kph

Workers remove the debris from a storm damaged wheat mill built in the year 1786  as a storm hit many parts of Germany. Photograph: Wolfgang Runge/Getty Images

Workers remove the debris from a storm damaged wheat mill built in the year 1786 as a storm hit many parts of Germany. Photograph: Wolfgang Runge/Getty Images

 

Strong winds battered northern and central Europe on Sunday, killing two people in Poland, two in the Czech Republic and one in Germany, with rail traffic in large sections of Germany to remain suspended until Monday.

The victims in Poland and the Czech Republic were killed by falling trees. The storm also knocked out power to thousands of Czechs and Poles.

Winds reached more than 100 kph in several parts of the Czech Republic and topped out at 180 kph on Snezka, at 1,602m the country’s highest mountain, Czech Television reported.

Firefighters work on a tree that fell during stormy weather in Hamburg. Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters
Firefighters work on a tree that fell during stormy weather in Hamburg. Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

In Germany, the Bild newspaper reported that a 63-year-old German man drowned at a campsite in Lower Saxony as a result of a storm surge.

The country’s railway operator Deutsche Bahn cited what it called “significant damage” on main routes, and said rail traffic on many routes in northern and central Germany would remain suspended until Monday.

The decision left thousands of travellers stranded and cut rail access to cities such as Bremen, Hamburg, Berlin, Hanover and Kiel. The closures also affect popular routes such as from Frankfurt to Berlin and Dortmund to Hamburg.

Hamburg saw widespread flooding in the inner city area, including the area around the new Elbphilharmonie symphony hall.

The winds felled trees in the Czech Republic, with one man dying after being hit on a sidewalk in a town in the north of the country and one woman killed by a tree in a wooded area, media reported.

Flood waters surround cars parked at Hamburg’s Fish Market district as a storm hit many parts of Germany. Photograph: Bodo Marks/Getty Images
Flood waters surround cars parked at Hamburg’s Fish Market district as a storm hit many parts of Germany. Photograph: Bodo Marks/Getty Images

The weather delayed or halted traffic on several railway lines and slowed road traffic, with a fallen tree blocking one highway just outside of the capital, Prague, the website of newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes reported.

Prague Zoo closed because of the winds, but Prague Airport was running without problems, newspaper Lidove Noviny’s website reported.

The winds also hit Poland, damaging a pipeline at Poland’s liquefied natural gas terminal in the port of Swinoujscie. They caused a small leak but no greater damage, according to a spokesman for the state gas pipeline operator, Gaz-System. –Reuters