St Jude storm strikes Britain, Europe killing thirteen

Out of 13, six death were reported from Germany, five in Britain and one each in Netherlands and Denmark.

Updated: Oct 29, 2013, 16:33 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

London: Armed with violent gusts reaching a maximum speed of 119 mph and torrential rains, St. Jude storm pummelled Britain and other parts across north-western Europe, knocking down trees and power lines and killing 13.

Most of the deaths were caused by falling of trees.

Out of 13, six death were reported from Germany, five in Britain and one each in Netherlands and Denmark.

Two people were killed in London by a gas explosion and a British teen who played in the storm-driven surf was swept out to sea. A man in Denmark was killed when a brick flew off and hit him in the head.

Other than the deaths, one woman was also missing after being swept into the surf in France.

In one of the worst storms to hit Britain after the "Great Storm" of 1987, St Jude storm left over six lakh British homes powerless and in northern France 42, 000 homes were without power.

The wind speeds hit a maximum of 191 km/h (119mph) over the North Sea, according to the German meterologists.

The storm took a heavy toll and traffic as hundred of flights were cancelled and rail lines disrupted.

Despite the strength of its gusts, the storm was not considered a hurricane because it didn`t form over warm expanses of open ocean like the hurricanes that batter the Caribbean and the United States. Britain`s national weather service, the Met Office, said Britain does not get hurricanes because those are "warm latitude" storms that draw their energy from seas far warmer than the North Atlantic. Monday`s storm also did not have an "eye" at its center like most hurricanes.

London`s Heathrow Airport, Europe`s busiest, cancelled at least 130 flights and giant waves prompted the major English port of Dover to close, cutting off ferry services to France.

Nearly 1,100 passengers had to ride out the storm on a heaving ferry from Newcastle in Britain to the Dutch port of Ijmuiden after strong winds and heavy seas blocked it from docking in the morning. The ship returned to the North Sea to wait for the wind to die down rather than risk being smashed against the harbor`s walls, Teun-Wim Leene of DFDS Seaways told national broadcaster NOS.

A nuclear power station in Kent, southern England, automatically shut its two reactors after storm debris reduced its incoming power supply. Officials at the Dungeness B plant said the reactors had shut down safely and would be brought back once power was restored.

Trains were canceled in southern Sweden and Denmark. Winds blew off roofs, with debris reportedly breaking the legs of one man. Near the Danish capital of Copenhagen, the storm ripped down the scaffolding from a five-story apartment building.

Amsterdam was one of the hardest-hit cities as the storm surged up the Dutch coast. Powerful wind gusts toppled trees into canals in the capital`s historic center and sent branches tumbling onto rail and tram lines, halting almost all public transport. Commuters faced long struggles to get home.

Ferries in the Baltic Sea, including between Denmark and Sweden, were canceled after the Swedish Meteorological Institute upgraded its storm warning to the highest possible level, class 3, which indicates "very extreme weather that could pose great danger."

With Agency Inputs