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Killer Storms Hit France And Spain

  • January 25th, 2009
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

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High winds and torrential rain hit France and Spain on Saturday (24.01.09), causing widespread damage and leaving over a million homes without power.

Four children were killed in Barcelona when strong winds blew over a concrete structure they took shelter in when trying to hide from the devastating storm…

STORMS LASH OUT

The BBC described it as the fiercest storm in a decade with eleven people being killed in separate incidents across Spain and south-western France.

Winds of up to 184km/h and torrential rain were reported; forecasters saying the high winds are now moving across central Italy.

The storms also caused road and rail blockages as well as airports being closed in France.

BBC meteorologist Alex Deakin said the impact of the storm had been felt from the Channel Isles to Barcelona, while the worst of it was concentrated around southwest France.

The Mediterranean islands of Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica were also affected.

MANY DEAD

The incident involving the four children killed was one of many in a weekend of horrific storms.

In the Landes region of south-western France, three people were killed in separate incidents involving flying debris and falling trees.

In Spain it was a collapsing wall that killed a woman and a falling tree which killed a park ranger in the Barcelona area.

People were also killed in Galicia; a policeman crushed by a falling tree as he directed traffic; and a cargo ship sailor killed in an accident when the vessel he was in got caught off the coast in high winds.

There were also deaths in Burgos, Catalonia and in the southeast of Spain.

WORST IN A DECADE

Mr Deakin said that the active low pressure system was fairly common in Winter but that this year had been the most damaging in a decade.

Central Europe was hit by three violent storms ten years ago, which claimed more than 130 lives and caused about 13 billion Euro (AU$258 billion, dcerates.com, 25.01.09) worth of damage.

Reference:

Alex Deakin, BBC News, ‘Strongest storm for a decade lashes France by Alex Deakin’ (25.01.09), http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/news/24012009news.shtml, (25.01.09).

BBC News, ‘Storm leaves 15 dead in S Europe’ (25.01.09), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7848719.stm, (25.01.09).

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