Powerful winter storm batters Europe

An accident caused by icy conditions near the town of Coalville in England. Since the end of last week, a winter cold snap across Europe has killed more than 60 people, with homeless people and migrants stranded in countries such as Greece and Serbia
An accident caused by icy conditions near the town of Coalville in England. Since the end of last week, a winter cold snap across Europe has killed more than 60 people, with homeless people and migrants stranded in countries such as Greece and Serbia most at risk.PHOTO: REUTERS

Britain issues flood warnings and urges thousands to evacuate; 330,000 homes in France left without power

LONDON • A powerful winter storm battered Europe yesterday, killing one woman and leaving 330,000 homes without power in France as flights and train services were cancelled and coastal areas put on flood alert.

Britain issued nearly a dozen severe flood warnings, meaning there was a risk of severe flooding and danger to life, and urged thousands of people to evacuate their homes in several seaside communities.

The storm, named Egon, also battered Belgium and Germany, where the key international hub of Frankfurt airport cancelled 120 flights, according to German media.

Eurostar cancelled two trains between London and Paris, while 180 passengers were forced to spend a chilly night on a high-speed Thalys train from Brussels to the French capital that finally arrived 10 hours late.

"We stopped on the tracks at around 9pm," said Mr Eduardo Soteras, a passenger on the train.

"At first we had electricity, but then it (was) cut. We found ourselves in the dark without heating."

In France, a woman was killed by a falling tree in her garden in a village near the Mediterranean resort of Nice, while another woman in Albania was found dead on Thursday outside her home in the southern town of Saranda.

"She died in front of her children. Her husband immediately tried to help by cutting the tree, but it was too late," a French police official said of the death there.

Winds of up to 146kmh hit France's Channel port of Dieppe overnight, while parts of Germany were bracing for up to 30cm of snow yesterday.

Since the end of last week, a winter cold snap across Europe has killed more than 60 people, with homeless people and migrants stranded in countries such as Greece and Serbia most at risk.

Separately, an ice storm heading for the central United States was threatening to take down trees and power lines and create treacherous travel conditions yesterday and into the weekend, the National Weather Service said.

Ice, freeze rain and winter storm warnings were in effect for a large swathe of the Plains, from the Texas panhandle north into Iowa and east through central Indiana, it added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2017, with the headline 'Powerful winter storm batters Europe'. Print Edition | Subscribe