Waves crash over the harbour and a lighthouse as Storm Ciara hits Newhaven, on the south coast of England, on Sunday. (Photo: AP)
On Sunday (February 9), a major storm hit northern Europe, disrupting travel and public events in the region.
The storm, named ‘Ciara’ in the UK, is expected to hit Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany. In Germany, it is being referred to as ‘Sabine’.
The storm has two names because there isn’t yet a pan-European system in place for labeling weather systems.
Hurricane-force winds up to 129 kph battered the country, the strongest since 2013. Trains, flights, and ferries were cancelled and weather warnings were issued at several places.
According to an AP report, the UK Met Office issued 123 emergency flood warnings and 159 flood watch alerts, and at least 10 rail companies sent out “do not travel” warnings, with almost 20 others telling passengers to expect delays.
To reduce cancellations, London's Heathrow Airport and several airlines consolidated flights, with British Airways offering to rebook customers for domestic and European flights out of Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City airports. Virgin Airlines cancelled some flights.
The port of Dover suspended services as high winds forced ferry companies to cancel trips.
Deutsche Bahn, the national railway operator, said it was cancelling long-distance trains to destinations that were at risk from the storm.
According to a Deutsche Welle report, the country’s second-highest storm warning level was issued for large parts of the country, and the highest level warning announced in parts of the Black Forest, with wind speeds of 120 kph expected.
Around 100 flights were cancelled at Frankfurt, with airports at Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Hannover, and Bremen also expecting their operations getting delayed.
A Bundesliga match in Cologne between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Cologne was cancelled, as was the Ski Jumping World Cup on Sunday.
Air traffic was affected in Belgium and the Netherlands, and football tournaments were cancelled.
Authorities in France warned of flooding and storm damage, with people advised against going into forests and parking cars under trees.
In Norway, ferry services to Sweden and Denmark were reportedly suspended and several roads were closed.