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Germany reels from deadly storm; Severe train disruptions
by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) Oct 6, 2017

Thousands of commuters were hit Friday by train cancellations in northern and eastern Germany after a powerful storm that killed seven motorists.

Storm Xavier slammed into the country late afternoon on Thursday, uprooting trees and flinging signs and billboards to the ground with winds that reached 130 kilometres (80 miles) per hour.

"Most of the train tracks in the north and east of Germany are still unusable," said a spokesman for the rail operator Deutsche Bahn on Friday.

Trains linking Hamburg, Hanover and Berlin have been canceled, as all three cities were severely hit by the storm.

Hundreds of passengers spent the night in the stations, some finding a spot on trains turned into temporary accommodations by Deutsche Bahn.

In the German capital, regional trains were running only partial services as emergency crew were still struggling to remove fallen trees from the tracks.

"The clearing work could last all day," said a spokesman for Berlin's rail service.

The capital's firefighter service said the emergency situation continues, as it called on volunteers to return to help out from 8:00 am (0600 GMT).

Seven killed as storm lashes Germany
Seven motorists were killed in north and eastern Germany on Thursday as fierce winds toppled trees onto cars during an intense storm that also forced many train services to be cancelled.

Police in Hamburg said a tree fell on a car containing two women -- killing one and leaving the other with serious injuries.

Another driver was killed in Berlin, rescue workers said. Several others were injured as the heavy winds swept through the German capital before weakening later in the day.

Most of those injured were struck by falling tree branches.

A truck driver was also killed by a falling tree on a main road in the northeastern state Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, police told news agency DPA, and a female driver was killed in the Brandenburg region when a tree hit her car.

Three more people were killed in similar incidents, according to local authorities.

The German weather service (DWD) predicted that hurricane-force winds would continue to lash northeastern Germany into the evening Thursday.

State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn ordered a halt to trains across northern Germany, especially the Hamburg-Berlin line, as many routes were blocked by fallen trees.

Many services were also canceled in the country's east, as were urban S-Bahn trains in capital Berlin.

Berliners packed into trams and underground services to escape the powerful gusts of wind, which threw traffic signs and advertising billboards to the ground.

Firefighters in the German capital were on high alert after receiving 50 emergency calls in the space of half an hour, while their colleagues in Hamburg reported responding to over 800 calls.

In Berlin meteorologists said that wind gusts of up to 120 kilometres per hour could be expected.

Berlin zoo was closed to the public in the early afternoon.

The two airports in the capital continued to operate as normal.

Powerful wind storm kills eight in Romania
Bucharest (AFP) Sept 17, 2017
A storm packing powerful winds ripped off roofs and toppled trees in Romania on Sunday, killing eight people and injuring dozens more, authorities and witnesses said. With gusts that reached nearly 100 kilometres (60 miles) an hour, the storm pounded the area around the western city of Timisoara before heading north toward Ukraine. Most of the victims were outside when the winds swept in ... read more

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