Sunday, February 28, 2010

Death toll hits 53 as storms lash Europe

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Hurricane-force winds, surging seas and driving rain lashed western Europe on Sunday, leaving at least 53 people dead and more than a million households without power. Dubbed "Xynthia", the Atlantic storm crashed against the western coasts of France and Spain overnight, bringing with it a band of foul weather stretching from Portugal to the Netherlands and inland as far as Germany.

The bulk of the casualties were in France, where gusts of 150 kilometres per hour (93 mph) and eight metre (26 foot) waves battered the west coast, flooding inland and sending residents scurrying onto rooftops. Prime Minister Francois Fillon said France would formally declare the storm a natural disaster, freeing up funds to help communities rebuild, as Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux put the national death toll at "between 45 and 50".

"We were warned, but I didn't think it could do this," said 62-year-old retiree Jean-Francois Dikczyk, who saw the sea surge several hundred metres (yards) inland and smash though the windows of his house…..

Milo Winter's "North wind," from Aesop for Children


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