Storm batters Europe and British Isles, killing 1 and injuring 15

Heavy rain and strong winds bring down trees, cause flooding and disrupt air travel

The Associated Press

January 03, 2018

Tap to see caption
A man watching waves pounding the lakeside promenade on the Lake of Geneva, in Vevey, Switzerland, on Jan. 3, 2018. Storm Eleanor — also known as Storm Burglind in some regions — is causing strong gusts of wind of up to 160 kilometres an hour in some mountainous areas. (Laurent Gillieron/EPA-EFE)
Tap to see caption
A car drives through a flooded car park in Salthill, Galway, Ireland. The storm has left thousands of homes without power and has also hit transport links. (Brian Lawless/PA/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
Waves crash over a stone jetty wall in Aberystwyth in west Wales as the storm lashed Britain. The storm has injured at least 15 people and killed at least one, according to authorities. (Aaron Chown/PA/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
A partially collapsed harbour wall in Portreath, England. Yellow warning were in place for Wales, England, most of Northern Ireland and parts of southern Scotland. (Steve Parsons/PA/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
Children stand on the seafront as a wave crashes over the sea wall in Aberystwyth. (Aaron Chown/PA/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
This scaffolding in Paris collapsed due to the violent windstorm. France's national electricity provider reported 200,000 households without electricity across the country, including 30,000 in the Paris region, due to storm damage. (Thibault Camus/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
A small airplane lies upside down after a squall flipped it in Buochs, Switzerland. The storm hit the biggest part of the country with strong winds and rain on Wednesday. (Urs Flueeler/Keystone/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
A Christmas tree toppled during the storm lies in the centre of Basel, Switzerland. (Georgios Kefalas/Keystone/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
The storm blows over the Lake Constance in Rorschach, Switzerland. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
A firefighter walks past a tree that crashed on a building during the storm in Ratingen, Germany. (David Young/dpa/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
A tree lies on a truck in Feldberg, Germany. (Patrick Seeger/dpa/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
A man walks along the promenade as winds blow over Lake Constance. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
A coach is derailed at the scene of a train crash in Boden near Lenk, Switzerland. Several people were injured when the train derailed due to heavy winds. (Anthony Anex/EPA-EFE)
Tap to see caption
Two trucks lie on their sides and block a highway between Oensingen and Niederbipp, Switzerland. The storm caused damage and traffic disturbances all across the country. (Christian Merz/Keystone/Associated Press)
Tap to see caption
Waves whipped up by the windstorm lash the sea wall at New Brighton, U.K. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Tap to see caption
Spectators brave storm gusts during the cross country skiing sprint qualification run at the FIS Tour de Ski in Oberstdorf, Germany. The race day was cancelled after the women's qualification run due to severe weather. (Philipp Guelland/EPA-EFE)
Tap to see caption
A beach patrol vehicle drives past waves crashing against the breakwater along the coastline in Blackpool, England. (Peter Powell/EPA-EFE)
Tap to see caption
People arrive for work in the financial district of London. (Simon Dawson/Reuters)
Tap to see caption
A car drives along a flooded road in New Brighton on the coast of the Wirral peninsula in Merseyside, England. (Phil Noble/Reuters)
Tap to see caption
A boat is stranded on the edge of a pier after being washed there by floods in Galway, Ireland. (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)
Tap to see caption
Kite surfers take advantage of windy conditions with a rainbow in the sky at the seaside town of Troon, Scotland. (John Linton/PA/Associated Press)

A violent storm packing winds up to 160 km/h battered parts of western Europe on Wednesday, derailing trains, toppling trees and halting flights.

Authorities said one person was killed and at least 15 others were injured in France and Switzerland.


The high winds played havoc on transport, derailing trains in Switzerland and Germany and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes across France, Switzerland, Britain and Ireland without power.

Officials said one skier was killed in the French Alps after being hit by a falling tree in Morillon in Haute-Savoie.

Several people were injured when a train was blown off the tracks near Lenk, a town south of Bern, the Swiss capital, local media reported. In western Germany, a train derailed near Luenen when it crashed into a tree that had fallen onto the tracks, according to the dpa news agency. No injuries were reported.

Click to show more
Huge storm causes damage across several countries  2:05

The storm forced the cancellation of flights at Zurich and Basel airports and toppled a truck on a Swiss highway. Thousands of households at Lake Zurich were left without power, and firefighters were called to help with toppled trees blocking streets and flooding due to heavy rain.

Swiss police say several people were stuck inside a cable car that halted in the ski resort of Pizol in the Swiss Alps. St. Gallen police said several rescue teams were trying to get them out. High winds prompted ski lifts to stop running at other Swiss resorts as well.

Widespread damage

In England, the storm brought hail and lightning. Overturned vehicles forced officials to close portions of three major highways. Some bridges were also shut down.

Extremely high tides caused the partial collapse of a harbour wall in Cornwall in southwestern England, bringing seawater flooding in.

The country's main weather forecaster, the Met Office, said gusts reached 160 km/h in Cumbria, 450 kilometres northwest of London, early Wednesday.

County council workers leave sand bags out in the street for locals to take for flood protection against a high tide later in Galway, Ireland, on Jan. 3. (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

The storm battered northern France with winds surpassing 145 km/h, some of the worst gusts to hit the country in years. Many people posted photos of destroyed cars, collapsed scaffolding and uprooted trees on social media.

France's national electricity provider said the storm left some 200,000 households without electricity, including 30,000 in the Paris region.

In the Paris region, a falling tree hit a car and seriously injured one person, while another resident was seriously hurt falling from a building. In all, the Interior Ministry said 15 people in France were injured, with four in serious condition, following accidents caused by high winds.

Strong winds also caused delays at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, as extra precautions were taken to safely get travellers into aircraft.

In Germany, highways near Duisburg and Juelich in the west were partially blocked because of toppled trees and flooding. The zoos in Munich and Augsburg in Bavaria closed for the day and the railway going up Germany's tallest mountain, the Zugspitze, was shut down because of the storm.

A car drives through a flooded parking lot in Galway, Ireland, on Wednesday as storm Eleanor lashed Britain and Ireland with winds of up to 160km/h, leaving thousands of homes without power and hitting transport links. (Brian Lawless/PA via Associated Press)
CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices
Report Typo or Error
Start the day smarter
Get the CBC News Morning Brief, the essential news you need delivered to your inbox