Storm Ciaran kills 12 as record winds batter UK and western Europe

Effects of storm were felt as far south as Spain and Portugal

Storm Ciaran batters Europe

Storm Ciaran batters Europe
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Twelve people were killed as Storm Ciaran battered western Europe on Thursday, bringing record winds as high as 200kph as well as floods, power cuts and major travel disruption.

At least five people died in Tuscany, Italian authorities announced on Friday, declaring of a state of emergency after reporting record rainfall.

Tuscany governor Eugenio Giani said the dead included an 85-year-old man who was found drowned in his house.

“What happened tonight in Tuscany has a name: Climate change,” Mr Giani wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Florence mayor Dario Nardella said the situation was critical in the city, as the level of the Arno river continued to rise.

About 1.2 million French homes lost electricity as the storm lashed the north-western coast, with about 700,000 still without power on Thursday evening, according to network managing compant Enedis.

Winds in the western Brittany region were “exceptional” and “many absolute records have been broken”, national weather service Meteo-France said on X.

The prefect for the local department said gusts as high as 207kph were recorded at Pointe du Raz on the tip of the north-western coast, while winds in the port city of Brest hit 156kph.

French President Emmanuel Macron is due to visit Brittany on Friday, the Elysee presidential palace said.

Trees felled by gale-force winds caused most of the deaths in Europe.

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.

More than 200 flights were cancelled at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

Rail and ferry services were also disrupted, leading to long delays across several countries.

The effects of the storm were felt as far south as Spain and Portugal, with Spanish authorities warning of waves as high as nine metres along the Atlantic coast.

In Spain, more than 80 flights were cancelled at 11 airports.

On the Channel Island of Jersey, residents had to be evacuated to hotels overnight as gusts of up to 164kph damaged homes, according to local media.

And on the UK mainland, forecasters issued two amber wind warnings, the second highest level of alert, for parts of the south coast of England, together with yellow rain warnings.

Storm Ciaran - in pictures

Hundreds of schools were closed in southern England as large waves powered by 135kph winds crashed along the coastline.

On the Channel Island of Jersey, residents had to be evacuated to hotels overnight as gusts of up to 164kph damaged homes, according to local media.

A spokeswoman for London's Heathrow Airport said it had not been affected by the weather but London Gatwick experienced some disruption.

A representative for Gatwick told The National: “Storm Ciaran across the south-east has caused some delays this morning. As always, safety of passengers and staff is our number one priority and we are working closely with our airline partners to minimise any disruption.

“We advise passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling.”

The Met Office warned of coastal gusts of 112kph to 128kph, with the potential for speeds of up to 136kph.

People were urged not to go near the water's edge due to “very dangerous conditions”.

An amber warning was put place in Cornwall and Devon, with the Met Office predicting Storm Ciaran would bring winds of 120kph to 136kph, with inland gusts of 104kph to 120kph.

A major incident was declared by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum, with the local fire service warning that there was a “potential risk to life”, as well as a risk of damage to buildings, falling trees and flooding.

But Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum later downgraded it on Thursday afternoon as the area had not experienced the “full extent of the forecast weather”.

Further north, train passengers in parts of Scotland and on some cross-border services will face delays until Saturday morning due to weather warnings in place as a result of Storm Ciaran, rail operators announced.

Updated: November 03, 2023, 1:09 PM