Severe weather has gripped Germany and its neighbors. At least five people died as the powerful storm swept across Western Europe. Friederike severely hit public transport on its way toward the Czech Republic.
Friederike, the latest storm to hit Western Europe after Xavier left a trail of destruction last autumn, has left at least five people dead. It brought public transport to a standstill in parts of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
In Germany, a 59-year-old man died after being hit by a tree at a campsite in Emmerich in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which was one of the two hardest-hit German states. Lower Saxony to the north also suffered extensive damage.
All long-distance trains were halted due to the storm raging across the country, according to Germany’s railway operator Deutsche Bahn. Meanwhile, power outages left 100,000 people without electricity in Germany.
While authorities have yet to offer a nationwide assessment of damage, local media has reported that the number of injured across the country could be in the hundreds.
From Belgian forest to Rhine River
Across the border in the Netherlands, a man was killed by a falling tree branch in the eastern Dutch town of Olst, while another was killed when a falling tree hit the car he was driving near the German border, police said.
In Belgium, a woman was killed when a tree fell on her car as she drove through a forest south of Brussels, the Belga news agency reported.
A wolf escaped from West Berkshire, some 73 kilometers (45 miles) west of London, after strong winds knocked down a fence at an animal sanctuary. The animal was recaptured unharmed several hours later.
Authorities shut down some airports, while in North Rhine-Westphalia, some motorways and bridges had to be closed off, with water levels rising along the Rhine River — just over a week after it had burst its banks.
Friederike was expected to move “in a broad streak from west to east,” a storm-watcher at Germany’s DWD national weather service told news outlets.
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Various domestic flights between Munich and Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne were canceled, and Dutch authorities temporarily canceled all flights in and out of Amsterdam because of the storm’s impact on the Netherlands.
However, an extreme weather expert at the DWD said that the damage from Friederike is unlikely to match that of last year’s deadly storm named Xavier, which swept across the country in October.
ls,ng,rs/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)