Winter storms engulfs across Western Europe


London, Jan. 4 (TNS): Winter storms are sweeping across western Europe, causing three deaths and widespread disruption.

Tens of thousands of people have been affected by power cuts, and air travel has been disrupted.

Two people drowned on Spain’s northern Basque coast after being swept away by a huge wave and a skier was killed by a falling tree in the French Alps,

For the first time, the Dutch authorities shut all five of its major sea barriers. Two later reopened.

Gusts of more than 110km/h (68mph) were recorded at Amsterdam airport where hundreds of flights were cancelled.

Winds of up to 147km/h were recorded in France. Fifteen people were injured in incidents across the country, four seriously.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was closed because of the strong winds. Parks were also closed because of worries over falling tree branches.

In Switzerland, strong wind blew a train carriage off its tracks, injuring eight people. Some 14,000 homes in the country were left without power and record wind gusts of 195km/h were recorded near the city of Lucerne.

The high winds left several people stranded in a ski lift in St Gallen canton, overturned a light airplane in Stans and snapped the 13m (42ft) high Christmas tree in the capital Bern.