Strong winds battered northern and central Europe on Sunday, killing two people in Poland, two in the Czech Republic and one in Germany, with rail traffic in large sections of Germany to remain suspended until Monday. The victims in Poland and the Czech Republic were killed by falling trees. The storm also knocked out power to thousands of Czechs and Poles. Winds reached more than 100 kph in several parts of the Czech Republic and topped out at 180 kph on Snezka, at 1,602 metres the country’s highest mountain, Czech Television reported.
Bild newspaper reported that a 63-year-old German man drowned at a campsite in Lower Saxony as a result of a storm surge. In Germany, railway operator Deutsche Bahn cited what it called “significant damage” on main routes, and said rail traffic on many routes in northern and central Germany would remain suspended until Monday.
The decision left thousands of travellers stranded and cut rail access to cities such as Bremen, Hamburg, Berlin, Hanover and Kiel. The closures also affect popular routes such as from Frankfurt to Berlin and Dortmund to Hamburg. Hamburg saw widespread flooding in the inner city area, including the area around the new Elbphilharmonie symphony hall.
The winds felled trees in the Czech Republic, with one man dying after being hit on a sidewalk in a town in the north of the country and one woman killed by a tree in a wooded area, media reported. The weather delayed or halted traffic on several railway lines and slowed road traffic, with a fallen tree blocking one highway just outside of the capital, Prague, the website of newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes reported.
Prague Zoo closed because of the winds, but Prague Airport was running without problems, newspaper Lidove Noviny’s website reported. The winds also hit Poland, damaging a pipeline at Poland’s liquefied natural gas terminal in the port of Swinoujscie. They caused a small leak but no greater damage, according to a spokesman for the state gas pipeline operator, Gaz-System.