The Heat Is Online

Lethal Storms Buffet North Europe While South Bakes

Storms kill 16 across Europe

Cnn.com, Jan. 30, 2002

WARSAW, Poland -- Storms across Europe have claimed the lives of at least 16 people in 48 hours.

The heaviest death toll came in Britain where seven people died. There were deaths also in Poland, Germany and Russia's Kaliningrad enclave.

Fierce storms also raged on Tuesday in Sweden and parts of the Czech Republic and the weather delayed ferries and shut ports and airports in the Baltic region.

Four died in Poland after trees hit their vehicles or they hit fallen branches, as winds gusted up to 80 mph (120 kmh) across the southern Silesian and Krakow regions.

A woman on a bicycle was killed by a street lamp that blew over in the western Polish town of Turek, and the national fire service said eight people were wounded in southern Poland.

In Germany, falling trees killed two middle-aged men in the north and west and heavy branches struck and killed a 78-year-old woman who was on her way to hospital.

Two died in Russia's Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad when a tree blew on to their car. A state of emergency was declared and power stations shut down, leaving 200,000 without heat or power.

The severe weather in the UK left thousands of Scottish homes without power and closed bridges, caused numerous road accidents and brought the Scottish rail network to a virtual standstill.

Scottish Hydroelectric said that at one point 90,000 homes were without power, while wind gusts of 120 mph (190 kph) were recorded on top of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands. Scottish Hydroelectric said 8,000 homes remained without electricity on Tuesday.

The storms brought a renewed risk of flooding to some parts of Britain, with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency issuing 12 flood warnings and the Environment Agency putting 23 flood warnings in force across Wales and England.

Three of the seven people killed in the UK died in Scotland, two in separate accidents when their high-sided tractor-trailer trucks blew over in Glencoe, and in Monkton. A man was killed and a woman injured by a falling tree when they walked in the grounds of a Perthshire hotel.

In northern England, a man was killed when his truck toppled in the gales near Catterick, North Yorkshire.

A woman passenger was killed when a truck was blown down an embankment in County Durham. In Tyne and near, north east England, the driver of another truck was killed when it rolled down an embankment. Another woman was killed when she was hit by a piece of stone carving that fell from a church in York.

In the German port city of Bremen, a 49-year-old man was killed when he was hit by an 18-metre (60-foot) long branch was torn from a tree.

In Oranienburg, just outside Berlin, a 51-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on his car and in Wuelfrath, near Duesseldorf, a 78-year-old woman was killed when she was hit by a falling tree.

The winds also caused widespread damage to property, tearing the roofs off many buildings, including a 3,000-square-meter (3,600-square-yard) hall in Bremen.

In Travemuende, on the Baltic coast, the wind blew a ferry into a tugboat, which both went aground.

Meanwhile strong winds broke power lines and felled trees in Kaliningrad, with power cut to some areas as emergency officials were placed on alert, ITAR-Tass news agency reported. Cut off from Russia, Kaliningrad shares a border with Poland and Lithuania.

Water was also rising above flood levels, raising the threat of flooding at a factory that is a key source of heat for residents, and there was also a risk of flooding in the city itself.

Storms kill 10 northern Europe

Reuters News Service, Jan. 30, 2002

WARSAW - Strong winds have swept across northern Europe overnight, killing at least 10 people as trees crashed to the ground in Poland, Germany and Russia's Kaliningrad enclave.

Fierce storms also raged into Tuesday morning in Sweden and parts of the Czech Republic and the weather delayed ferries and shut ports and airports in the Baltic region.

Four died in Poland after trees hit their vehicles or they hit fallen branches, as winter winds gusted up to 120 km (80 miles) an hour across the southern Silesian and Krakow regions.

A woman on a bicycle was killed by a street lamp that blew over in the western Polish town of Turek, and the national fire service said eight people were wounded in southern Poland.

In Germany, falling trees killed two middle-aged men in the north and west and heavy branches struck and killed a 78-year-old woman who was on her way to hospital.

Two died in Russia's Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad when a tree blew on to their car. A state of emergency was declared and power stations shut down, leaving 200,000 without heat or power.

"The mayor has ordered schools and kindergartens to shut," Oleg Kuznetsov, head of Kalingrad's emergency office told ORT television as violent gusts drowned out his interview.

In southern Sweden, floods inundated Gothenberg harbour and Swedish power group Sydkraft said some 61,000 people were left without electricity.

"We have repaired some of the damage but it has been very difficult in the morning because the wind is still very strong. We have had winds up to hurricane levels, 37 metres per second," a Sydkraft spokesman told Reuters.

The storm off the Atlantic killed seven people in northern Britain on Monday.

But further south, out of the wind, soaring temperatures broke records in southern France, Prague and Budapest, enticing people out in shirt sleeves.

Perpignan hit 20.9 degrees Celsius on Monday, making it the warmest January 28 in the southern French city in more than a century.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE