Strong Winds Cause Damage and Disruption in Western Europe

A quarter of a million homes in France were without electricity Thursday, while train services were suspended from Normandy to the Paris area after strong winds swept through northern France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Local media reported that four people were injured in the town of Barendrecht, on the southern edge of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, when strong winds damaged roofs and uprooted trees in a residential area early Thursday.

The strong winds were generated by a storm that initially hit the Atlantic Coast in England on Wednesday afternoon. The storm blew eastward all night, uprooting trees and uprooting building roofs in some areas.

A fallen tree is hit by Hurricane Aurore in Plozevet, Brittany, October 21, 2021.

A fallen tree is caused by Hurricane Aurore in Plozevet, Brittany, October 21, 2021.

France’s National Weather Monitoring Service issued a hurricane warning Thursday in the northeast corner of the country that borders Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. Winds reached 175 kilometers per hour in the Normandy town of Fecamp, according to the agency.

Trees uprooted by the wind damaged the power grid, leaving power company Enedis reported, some 250,000 homes in France were without electricity as of Thursday morning.

Rail travel was disrupted in the Normandy and Champagne-Ardennes regions, as well as on some commuter routes in the Paris region, according to the national rail authority SNCF.

The Dutch train network was also disrupted Thursday morning (21/10) by fallen trees blocking train tracks.

Firefighters in the Belgian town of Westerhoek near the Dutch border said on Twitter that they had been called dozens of times overnight to deal with storm damage.

Germany’s National Weather Service on Thursday warned of wind gusts of up to 105 kilometers per hour in the north and northeast of the country, and up to 120 kilometers per hour in mountainous areas. Two of Berlin’s zoos were closed as a precaution for the day due to forecast high winds. The animals are kept in cages in an enclosed space. [ab/ka]

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