Sunday, April 20, 2014   

Winds, waves cause chaos in Europe
(12-24 09:23)

High winds and heavy rain battered parts of Europe Monday. At least two people died and one man was lost at sea off France. Christmas travel was disrupted.
In Britain, a man was found dead in a swollen river in northwest England. The other fatality was a woman swept away in a river in north Wales, police said.
A Russian man was also feared dead after falling overboard from a damaged cargo ship off the northwest French coast about 220 kilometers from Brest, AFP reports.
The Atlantic maritime authorities said the man fell into the sea as winds packed nearly 120 kilometers per hour, and swells reached up to seven meters.
Across north and northwest France, about 90,000 homes lost electricity, said French utility ERDF, and air and rail traffic was disrupted in the Brittany and Normandy regions.
The Met Office, Britain's national forecaster, issued amber warnings for rain – the second-most-severe level – for much of the southern half of England and Wales.
In all, the French weather service has put 23 departments on orange alert – its second-highest level – for high winds and waves.
About30 flights from London's Heathrow airport were cancelled, most of them short-haul routes to Europe.
Britain's train companies reduced or cancelled some services, with some of the busiest lines, such as the one linking London and Birmingham in central England, forced to operate under speed restrictions because of the conditions.
Eurostar train services linking Britain with France and Belgium were unaffected.
However, ferry services across the Channel from France to Britain were cancelled after an alert that gale-force winds would batter the region.
The south England port of Dover announced Monday evening that it had been forced to close.
The Met Office also warned that flooding was possible in southwest England as heavy rain fell on already saturated ground.
In Cornwall, 3,000 homes and businesses lost electricity after high winds brought down overhead power lines.
Rain and winds also battered Ireland.
   
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