Deadly Storm Ciaran wreaks havoc on western Europe


in France and neighboring countries have left at least seven people dead, authorities said.

The storm wreaked homes, stranded travelers and cut power to vast regions as it swept through western Europe.

Wind speeds rose to over 190 kilometers per hour (118 miles per hour), uprooting trees and blowing out windows of homes in the northern tip of France’s Atlantic coast.

The powerful storm hit the northwest of France and the southwest of England on Wednesday night before moving on to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy on Thursday.

Storm Ciaran turns deadly

A truck driver was killed in northern France’s inland Aisne region when his vehicle was hit by a tree, Transport Minister Clement Beaune said. He urged people to stay off the roads and not drive in the storm.

”We see how roads can be fatal in these circumstances,” he told broadcaster France-Info.

Meanwhile, a 70-year-old man in the port city of Le Havre died in a fall from his balcony.

France’s interior ministry said at least 15 people were injured in the storm, including seven firefighters.

Two people were killed by falling tree branches in the Belgian city of Ghent. One of them was a 5-year-old child. A 3-year-old was slightly injured in the same incident, the Ghent prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Falling tree branches also hit three German tourists in the central Ghent Citadel Park, killing a 64-year-old woman. 

In northern Germany, a 46-year-old woman was fatally injured by a falling tree in the Harz mountains.

Dutch media reported that several people had been hit by falling trees in the Netherlands. One person was killed in the southern town of Venray. 

Not worth ‘risking your life’ for a selfie

Some 1.2 million French households lost power, electrical utility company Enedis said in a statement. That included about half of the homes in Brittany — the Atlantic peninsula hardest hit by Ciaran.

Thousands in the UK also faced severed power lines, with some regions evacuated in southern England. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency urged people to keep away from the coast.

“Stay out of dangerous situations,” the agency tweeted. “A selfie in stormy conditions isn’t worth risking your life for.”

Where is Storm Ciaran headed?

Much of the northern German coast was under storm warnings ahead of Ciaran’s arrival, according to the German Weather Service.

It said the storm was moving from the English Channel over England towards the North Sea. While wind speeds are expected to decrease before the weekend, stormy and rainy conditions will likely persist.

mk/nm (AP, dpa)

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