World

Ciara lashes Europe, disrupts travel, leaves homes without power

LONDON: Hundreds of flights and train services were cancelled across north-west Europe yesterday as Storm Ciara swept in, packing powerful winds after lashing Britain and Ireland, where tens of thousands of homes were left without power.

Swathes of northern France were put on orange alert and 130,000 homes had electricity cut off amid fears of coastal storm surges. Ciara was heading south through France yesterday with electricity network company Enedis reporting outages from Brittany in the west to the centre and east.

Meteo-France noted wind speeds of 130kmh along the coast and predicted highs of 200 kmh. Trees and electricity poles were blown over and roofs ripped off homes across 31 departments, fire and rescue services said.

Britain, which bore the brunt of the storm on Sunday with widespread flooding across the north, remained on alert with the Meteorological Office warning of strong winds, heavy rain and snow.

"While Storm Ciara is clearing away, that doesn't mean we are entering a quieter period of weather," Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said.

"It is going to stay unsettled," he said, warning that "blizzards aren't out of the question".

Transport was disrupted across the country with planes, trains and ferries cancelled or delayed after Ciara brought torrential rain and hurricane-force winds.

The highest wind speed recorded was 150kmh in the Welsh village of Aberdaron.

At the Wet Sleddale Reservoir in north-west England's Lake District, more than 15cm of rain fell in a 24-hour period.

More than 170 flood warnings remained in place on Monday, mostly across northern England and along the southern coast.

The West Yorkshire towns of Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd were among the worst hit by the storm, with streets inundated and cars submerged in the flood waters.

As of Sunday evening, 62,000 homes across Britain were still without electricity, the Energy Networks Association said. - AFP

WORLD