Weather

Oct 28, 2013 9:48 AM

Major Storm Batters U.K.

LONDON (AP) - A major storm with hurricane-force gusts lashed southern Britain, the Netherlands and parts of France on Monday, knocking down trees, flooding low areas and causing travel chaos. Four deaths were reported.

Weather forecasters say it's one of the worst storms to hit Britain in years. Gusts of 99 miles per hour (160 kph) were reported on the Isle of Wight in southern England, while gusts up to 80 mph hit the U.K. mainland.

UK Power Networks officials said up to 270,000 homes were without power. Flood alerts were issued for many parts of southern England and emergency officials said hundreds of trees were knocked down by gusts.

London's Heathrow Airport, Europe's busiest, cancelled at least 130 flights and express trains between central London and Gatwick and Stansted airports were suspended. Huge waves prompted the major English port of Dover to close, cutting off ferry services to France.

A nuclear power station in Kent, southern England, automatically shut its two reactors after storm debris reduced its incoming power supply. Officials at the Dungeness B plant said the reactors had shut down safely and would be brought back online once power was restored.

View gallery."Engineers look at the damage as a crane working on ...
Engineers look at the damage as a crane working on redevelopment at the Cabinet Office in Whitehall, ...
In central London, a huge building crane near the prime minister's office crumpled in the gusts.

Thousands of homes in northwestern France also lost electricity, while in the Netherlands several rail lines shut down, airport delays were reported. Dutch citizens were warned against riding their bicycles - a favored form of transport - because of the high winds, and Amsterdam's central railway station was shut down by storm damage.

Some English rail lines also closed Monday morning, and some roads were closed due to fallen trees and power lines. There were severe delays on many parts of the London Underground and London Overground trains were delayed several hours.

In Kent, police said a 17-year-old girl died after a tree fell onto the camper home she was sleeping in. Hertfordshire police said a man in his 50s was killed when a tree fell on a car in Watford. A teenage boy drowned Sunday after being swept to sea while playing in the surf at Newhaven.

Amsterdam police said a woman was killed when a tree fell on her in the city and advised people to stay indoors.

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