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4 dead as northern Europe battered by stormy weather


Meteorologists warned on Thursday that northern Europe could be hit by a series of storms over the next few days after strong winds swept through the region overnight and killed at least four people.

BERLIN — Meteorologists warned on Thursday that northern Europe could be hit by a series of storms over the next few days after strong winds swept through the region overnight, killing at least four people, downing power lines and causing widespread travel delays.

Rail service was disrupted in Scotland, parts of England and the Netherlands due to downed trees and power lines during the storm, named Storm Dudley by the UK weather service Met Office.

Two motorists in Germany, one aged 37 and the other 55, were killed after trees fell on their cars in Bad Bevensen, south of Hamburg, and in the Harz region south- west of Berlin.

Two people also died in the Polish city of Krakow, where high winds caused a construction crane to collapse.

German rail company Deutsche Bahn said it halted long-distance services in seven northern states on Thursday morning.

Deutsche Bahn spokesman Achim Stauss said there was “considerable” damage to tracks and power lines.

“I fear travelers will have to endure disruption for a long time,” he said.

The country’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, closed schools as a precaution, and authorities in several other states said students could stay at home if they wished.

Meteorologists said they measured wind speeds of up to 135 kilometers per hour (84 miles per hour) in low-lying areas of Germany.

Experts noted that advances in weather forecasting and storm defenses have helped prevent serious disasters such as the deadly floods that hit Hamburg 60 years ago on Thursday, killing more than 300 people.

Yet large ships have been banned from sailing up the lower Elbe which connects the port of Hamburg to the sea. Videos posted on social media showed passengers running for shelter after a wave broke the windows of a commuter ferry on the Elbe. One person was injured, German news agency dpa reported.

In the Czech Republic, hundreds of thousands of people were temporarily without power after trees fell on power lines. Thousands of homes were also left without power in Britain and Germany.

Two LOT domestic flights in Poland, from Bydgoszcz and Krakow to Warsaw, had to be re-routed and land in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, to avoid high winds. They refueled and then were able to go to Warsaw.

Cyclonic weather over the North Atlantic is expected to send further storms towards Europe in the coming days.

The German national weather service has predicted that storm Zeynep, known as storm Eunice in Britain, will hit northern Europe on Friday.

The UK Meteorological Agency issued the highest alert level for Friday, warning of “life-threatening flying debris”. He said roofs could be blown off buildings as Eunice is expected to produce winds of up to 150km/h (95mph) on the coast and 130km/h (80mph) inland.

Forecasters say the red weather warning covers the south west coast of England and the south coast of Wales.

The country’s Environment Agency has issued a warning about potential flooding from high waves and storm surges.

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Associated Press writers Jill Lawless and Sylvia Hui in London, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Mike Corder in The Hague and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed.

ABC News

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