PARIS • Storm Ciara lashed Britain with heavy rain and winds of more than 145kmh yesterday, forcing the cancellations of flights, train services and sports matches.
With howling winds and driving rain, forecasters said Storm Ciara would also hit Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.
"Storm Ciara is expected to bring delays and cancellations to air, ferry and train services, damage to buildings and a good chance of power cuts," Britain's Met Office said.
Britain's Network Rail advised travellers to avoid taking the train unless "absolutely necessary", warning that transport could be disrupted today.
Several rail firms also decided to reduce the frequency and speed of trains.
In London, organisers cancelled a 10km race in which 25,000 runners were due to take part, while major parks were set to close.
Ireland's Met Eireann meteorological service warned that the storm will produce very strong south-west winds with mean speeds of 65kmh to 80kmh and gusts of up to 130kmh.
The north and north-west of France were expected to be hit yesterday by winds of up to 80kmh, forecaster Marion Pirat told Agence France-Presse.
Winds would have strengthened to 120kmh by late yesterday local time, Ms Pirat added.
Affected regions will include Normandy, the Ardennes and Lorraine. In the Vosges, winds could hit speeds of 140kmh.
In Belgium, the Royal Meteorological Institute issued an alert for winds reaching 130kmh or more, with the risk of property damage nationwide.
Some 60 flights departing or arriving at Brussels Airport have been cancelled as a precaution, according to an airport spokesman, who said further delays were possible.