Europe winter storm claims nine lives
BERLIN (AFP) - Icy winter storms with hurricane-force winds on Friday lashed northern Europe, where the death toll rose to nine while hundreds of thousands were left without power or stranded by transport chaos.
Emergency services across the region battled overnight to sandbag sodden dykes, evacuate flooded harbour areas and repair damage from toppled trees that crashed onto houses, roads, train tracks and power lines.
Atlantic storm "Xaver", having barrelled across Britain, where two people died Thursday, packed winds of up to 158 kilometres per hour as it hit Germany, also battering the Netherlands, Poland and southern Scandinavia.
Blackouts hit 400,000 homes in Poland and affected 50,000 people in Sweden, while thousands of air passengers were stranded as flights were cancelled at Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Gdansk and other airports.