Storm Ciara: 32 Departments still on Orange Alert on Monday, Considerable Damage

General News
32 departments on orange alert with storm ciara

Gusts of over 130 km/h swept France on the night of Sunday 9th February 2020. Several cities were flooded and homes deprived of electricity.

Cancelled flights, interrupted ferries between France and England, stationary rail traffic in western Germany: the Storm Ciara blows over northwest Europe on Monday, causing damageflooding and outages of current.

Storm Ciara over western Europe.
Storm Ciara over western Europe. (© AFP / Vincent LEFAI)

Wind gusts over 130 km/h

In France, where the North is particularly exposed, up to 42 departments out of 96 were placed in an orange alert on Sunday and the population asked to avoid wooded areas, the coast and sea trips. Eleven departments are ironed in yellow vigilance Monday morning.

In the United Kingdom, the country most affected by this winter storm, air, rail and maritime transport was disrupted, the storm causing heavy rain and gusts of over 130 km/h. Part of the country was still on yellow alert Monday morning, after having been placed on orange alert for strong wind on Sunday.

The streets of Hebden Bridge, in the north of England, during the passage of Ciara on February 9, 2020.
The streets of Hebden Bridge, in the north of England, during the passage of Ciara on February 9, 2020. (© AFP / Oli SCARFF)

A crane folded in half

According to the professional organization Energy Networks Association (ENA), Sunday evening, 62,000 homes were deprived of electricity.

The Met Office recorded 150 km / h gusts of wind in Aberdaron, a village in North Wales.

In Stanmore, in north-west London, a crane on a construction site folded in half “as if it were a spaghetti”, according to the photo published on Twitter by a resident, Lindsey Wells, 36, who was interviewed by the British press agency Press Association.

Airplane speed record

Of dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed, the airline British Airways providing opportunities for passengers to arrive or from London airports Sunday to postpone their flight.

Carried by the winds of the storm, three commercial aircraft broke the speed record between New York and London on Sunday. The fastest, a British Airways Boeing 747, made the journey in less than five hours, instead of 6:25 in ordinary time.

Interrupted ferries

Network Rail, the owner of the British rail network, had advised against travelling by train on Sunday unless it was “absolutely necessary”, and warned that traffic could be disrupted again on Monday morning. Several railway companies have also decided to reduce the frequency and speed of trains, or even to cancel certain services in Scotland.

At sea, the circulation of ferries in the English Channel between Calais (France) and Dover (England) was interrupted on Sunday midday “until further notice”.

In Ireland, placed on orange alert with the risk of flooding of coastal regions, 10,000 homes, farms and businesses were deprived of electricity

Wind farm stopped

In Galway (West), the opening ceremony to mark the launch of the European Capital of Culture 2020 event was cancelled on Saturday evening, and the airline Aer Lingus warned of possible delays and cancellations.

In Belgium, around sixty flights from or to Brussels airport have been cancelled.

An orange alert had been issued for Sunday, with a risk of damage throughout the country. In Brussels, trees, ledges of buildings and scaffolding fell without causing casualties.

The entire Belgian offshore wind farm was shut down in the middle of the afternoon. The gusts of wind caused the wind turbines to stop automatically for safety reasons.

In Wimeureux in Pas-de-Calais February 9, 2020.
In Wimeureux in Pas-de-Calais February 9, 2020. (© AFP / Denis Charlet)

Risk of waves submerging

In Germany, mainline train traffic has been suspended in the west of the country, and all mainline traffic is expected to be stopped in the country.

The storm is so severe that “we are forced to completely stop mainline train traffic in Germany this Sunday evening,” Deutsche Bahn spokesman Achim Stauss told AFP.

Earlier, a train serving Amsterdam to Berlin, with 300 to 350 people on board, struck a fallen tree on the track in the Emsland region (west). After two hours, however, the train was able to reach the nearest station, Bad Bentheim.

120 flights cancelled in Düsseldorf

The airports of Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich but also Cologne and Hanover have cancelled takeoffs and landings. In Düsseldorf, 120 flights were cancelled on Sunday, the airport operating company tweeted.

The German meteorological services have issued a warning until Monday 5 p.m. GMT.

In Amsterdam, about 240 flights from or to Schipol airport were cancelled on Sunday.

In the northern half of France, the prefectures called on the population to limit movement and not to walk in the forests because of the risk of falling trees, and to avoid the coastline because of the risk of “waves submerging “.

In the east of the country, roofs flew away and a hundred firefighters were mobilized to put out the fire at a sawmill whose “flames are constantly fanned by the wind”, according to the emergency services.

Cities at a standstill

The Hauts-de-France region (north) has announced “possible disruptions to the interurban and school transport network”.

In Lille as in Boulogne-sur-Mer, parks and gardens are closed all day on Sunday, while in Calais, the west pier of the beach, a popular place for walkers, has been closed since Saturday evening.

The rescuers volunteer sea Calais denounced Sunday behaviours “unconscious” from “windsurfers and winter sports lovers” out to sea despite the storm and multiple calls for caution.

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