Flights, trains disrupted as storm lashes Europe

By Sara Shayanian  |  Updated Jan. 18, 2018 at 10:01 AM
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Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Hurricane force winds lashed parts of Europe on Thursday, disrupting travel as flights and trains were canceled.

All flights to and from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport -- one of Europe's busiest -- were canceled. The main railway station in The Hague was closed over fears that part of its new glass roof would be blown off.

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute issued a "code red" -- the most severe weather warning as wind gusts reached 87 mph in parts of the country.

The Dutch Railways and operator ProRail said overhead power lines had been damaged by the wind and some railway tracks were blocked by debris.

"A hurricane-force storm is raging over our country and causing a lot of damage to the rail network and stations. NS and ProRail therefore have to stop the train service until further notice. Only Arriva trains in Groningen and Limburg can continue running," an alert on the Dutch Railways website said.

Most of Belgium was on "orange alert," or the second-highest warning.

However, in the east of the country, a red alert for high winds was issued, with trams disrupted and several public parks closed due to fears of debris and falling trees.

The main airports in Belgium, including Brussels' Zaventem, were unaffected by the storm.

Germany's national train operator, Deutsche Bahn, suspended all rail traffic In North Rhine-Westphalia and parts of neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate.

Dozens of flights were canceled in Germany, particularly at the Cologne/Bonn airport.

In Britain, winds of up to 70 mph damaged overhead railway power lines and train tracks were blocked by fallen trees and debris.

Delays affected thousands in Britain's busiest train stations, including King's Cross station and Waterloo in London.

Drivers faced hazardous conditions in Scotland, with officials advising commuters to stay off the roads due to strong winds, heavy snow and icy conditions.

Gale winds and snow showers were expected to continue through Thursday and Friday -- with a new warning for snow and ice issued for areas in Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England, the Yorkshire & Humber region and the East Midlands.

Powerful winds are expected to affect Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany throughout the day on Thursday -- with gusts peaking at 75 mph, especially along coastal regions.

Areas along northern France can expect winds of up to 50 to 62 mph with local gusts as high as 71 mph along the coastline.

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