Deadly storm causes Dutch and German transport chaos

A truck's tarpaulin is blown off on to the motorway due to strong winds near Wuppertal, GermanyImage copyright

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Fierce winds blew this lorry’s tarpaulin off on the motorway in Germany

Four people have been killed by falling trees or debris as a fierce storm tears across northern Europe.

Storm-related accidents killed three people in the Netherlands and one in north-west Germany.

Gusts of up to 140km/h (90mph) caused transport chaos.

All long-distance train services in Germany, and many regional services, were cancelled for the rest of Thursday. Flights at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam were briefly suspended.

Schiphol, one of the busiest airports in Europe, had to close two of three departure halls after roof plates were blown off the terminal building.

More than 300 flights were cancelled and the airport said passengers should check their flights status online or contact their airline.

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The wind blew the side off this house in De Meern in the Netherlands

The storm is due to cross from west to east across Germany before reaching Poland overnight.

It caused high winds in the UK on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, bringing down trees and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes.

A wolf escaped from an animal park when winds brought down fences, but the animal was recaptured unharmed six hours later.

In Germany, where the storm is being called “Friederike”, metereologists are warning people to stay indoors and many schools are closed.

The national train operator, Deutsche Bahn, had already suspended rail traffic in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state and Lower Saxony, when it announced a Germany-wide suspension of long-distance trains. Any regional trains still running have cut their speed because of the strong winds.

Many domestic flights have also been cancelled.

An emergency siren wailed in the city of Duisburg, warning residents that they should stay indoors, German news website WDR reported.

Twitter users have posted photos of trucks and trees blown over by the gales. Many trees have come down on railway lines.

Police temporarily closed the centre of Almere, a Dutch city with about 200,000 residents lying just east of Amsterdam.

They tweeted an alert warning people to stay at home because of risk from the storm.

A national transport website, VID, reported 17 trucks blown over by the strong winds.

The Dutch Railways (NS) and operator ProRail said overhead power lines had been damaged by the wind, as well as some railway tracks.

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These cyclists in Rotterdam gave up trying to pedal through the storm

An alert on the NS website said: “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.”

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