Storm Ciaran kills 7, lashes Europe with strong winds and rain - GulfToday

Storm Ciaran kills 7, lashes Europe with strong winds and rain


Waves crash against the breakwater of the port during Storm Ciaran at Goury near Cherbourg, Normandy, France, on Thursday. Reuters

Seven people were killed as Storm Ciaran battered Western Europe on Thursday, bringing record winds as high as 200 kilometres per hour, floods, blackouts and major travel disruptions.

In the Belgian city of Ghent a five-year-old child was killed by falling branches while playing outside. Also in Ghent, a falling branch killed a 64-year-old woman walking in the city's Citadel Park with her husband and daughter who was seriously injured.

Falling trees had earlier killed a lorry driver in his vehicle in France's Aisne region, and French authorities also reported the death of a man who fell from his balcony in the port city of Le Havre. A man in the Dutch town of Venray, a woman in central Madrid, and a person in Germany also died.

"The wind gusts are exceptional in Brittany and many absolute records have been broken," Meteo-France, the national weather service, said on X (formerly Twitter).


Falling trees also caused the death of a woman in the Spanish capital Madrid and another in the south of the Netherlands, local emergency services and police said.

In France, 1.2 million households were left without electricity. Authorities in Finistere, Brittany, urged people to stay at home and avoid winds which were hitting 207kph, leading to reports of 20-metre waves off the coast.


Storm Ciaran, which follows on the heels of Storm Babet two weeks ago, was driven by a powerful jet stream that swept in from the Atlantic, unleashing heavy rain and furious winds that have already caused heavy flooding in Northern Ireland and parts of Britain.


France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters that in addition to the death of the truck driver, 15 people, including seven firefighters, had been injured. One person was seriously injured in the northern French town of Roubaix, he said.


About 1,300 people had to be relocated to camp sites or shelters, and several houses were evacuated in the Finistere city of Brest after a crane fell, Darmanin said on social media.

"I repeat: stay at home," local prefect Alain Espinasse told RTL radio. Still, the storm in France showed some signs of abating with the Meteo France weather service reducing its alert for strong winds in Mache, Finistere and Cotes d'Armor from red to orange.


In Britain, the Channel Islands were among the worst hit areas, with the BBC reporting that windows had been blown in and one roof ripped off a house on Jersey, forcing families to move into nearby hotels.


Dutch Airline KLM scrapped hundreds of flights to and from Amsterdam, while international trains from the Dutch capital to Paris were also cancelled, and shipping lanes in the southwest of the country were closed. Airport operator AENA said 42 flights in Spain were cancelled following the cancellation of 21 flights on Wednesday.


Spain's state-run weather agency AEMET also issued red warnings on Thursday for the northern regions of Galicia and Cantabria, where waves of as high as 9 metres were expected.


La Pinilla, a ski resort north of Madrid, and Estaca de Bares in Galicia registered wind velocities of more than 150 kph, AEMET said.


Reuters/ AFP


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