Storm Eunice continues to sweep across northern Europe, claiming at least nine lives

Storm Eunice continues to sweep northwestern Europe on Saturday morning, February 19, with strong gusts still expected on the German coasts, leaving in its wake significant material damage and at least nine deaths.

Formed in Ireland, the storm passed Friday over part of the United Kingdom then northern France, Benelux before continuing its route towards Denmark and Germany, of which a large northern third was placed on red alert until Saturday morning.

“There is a risk of gusts of ‘severe storm’ force [niveau 3 sur 4]. Maximum gust: 100-115 kilometers per hour [km/h] »warned the German meteorological services, warning of the risks of uprooted trees, falling branches or even damaged roofs. “In particular, please stay away from buildings, trees, scaffolding and power lines. If possible, avoid staying outside”they recommended.

Because this storm left a spectacle of desolation in its path and caused significant disruption. Hundreds of flights, trains and ferries have been canceled across northwestern Europe due to extreme winds from Eunice, which swept through less than 48 hours after Storm Dudley (at least six dead in Poland and Germany).

At least nine dead

Nine deaths have been recorded because of Eunice. The latest death, reported in the early morning by police in Germany, is a driver killed when a tree fell on his vehicle in Altenberge, North Rhine-Westphalia, northwest of Munster.

In the Netherlands, four people were killed, according to the Dutch emergency services. In The Hague, dozens of houses were evacuated for fear of the collapse of the bell tower of a church.

A 60-year-old man has died in south-east Ireland, police say.

In London, a woman in her thirties was killed in the afternoon when a tree fell on the car in which she was a passenger, and a man in his fifties was killed near Liverpool (north-west of England) when debris hit the windscreen of the vehicle he was traveling in.

In Belgium, a 79-year-old Canadian who lived on a boat in the marina of Ypres (west) died after falling into the water while trying to recover objects that had flown away.

Almost 200 kilometers per hour

In England, a gust of 196 km / h was recorded on the Isle of Wight, unheard of, while others were measured at more than 110 km / h inland, including at the airport of London-Heathrow. The British Meteorological Service had issued a red alert level (the highest) over South Wales and southern England, including London. This is the first time that the British capital has reached this level of alert since the establishment of this system in 2011.

In the north of France, six people were seriously injured – and seventeen more lightly – in road accidents related to wind, falls or due to falling materials. Strong gusts of wind, coupled with high tides, raise fears of flooding, especially as heavy rains were expected on Saturday.

Cross-Channel ferry traffic was halted, hundreds of flights were canceled on Friday – more than four hundred at UK airports, according to specialist company Cirium, more than two hundred from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport for the company KLM – road and rail transport were also affected in several countries.

In Ireland, more than 80,000 homes were without power at midday, according to local network ESB.

In France, waves sometimes exceeding 9 meters were recorded in Brittany as well as gusts of wind locally reaching 176 km / h at Cape Gris-Nez (Pas-de-Calais).

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers The climate crisis is worsening everywhere, to unprecedented levels, warns the IPCC

While climate change generally reinforces and multiplies extreme events, this is not so established for winds and storms (excluding cyclones), the number of which varies greatly from one year to another. The latest report from the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in August, estimates, with only a very low degree of certainty, that there may have been an increase in the number of storms. in the Northern Hemisphere since the 1980s.

The World with AFP