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Hurricane-Force Winds In Europe Halt Flights, Rip Roofs And Topple Trees

Heidi's ears fluttering in the wind during a walk in Reutlingen in southern Germany.

A powerful storm that brought hurricane-force winds to parts of Western Europe, bringing floods, causing downed trees and halting public transport, has been blamed for at least nine deaths in four countries.

The Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium got the brunt of the unusual storm system, known in Germany as "Friederike." Some areas saw winds up to 126 mph.

In Germany, where five people, including two firemen were killed, Deutsche Welle reports:

"All long-distance trains and some regional trains were halted due to the storm raging across the country, according to Germany's railway operator Deutsche Bahn. Full train service is not expected to resume until Friday.

"Authorities shut down some airports, while in North Rhine-Westphalia, some motorways and bridges had to be closed, with water levels rising along the Rhine River — just over a week after it had burst its banks."

Some domestic flights were also canceled.

In the Netherlands, more than 260 flights were canceled amid 90 mph winds and some airplanes had to abort landings at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. In Rotterdam, Europe's busiest cargo port, shipping containers were blown over and roofs ripped off homes, according to The Guardian.

The Dutch Railways said overhead powerlines had been damaged by high winds and that debris had fallen on some railway tracks, making lines impassable.

Hundreds of thousands of people lost power, at least temporarily, throughout the region, including more than 140,000 in the U.K., where winds reached 83 mph.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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