Dutch carrier KLM cancels 220 flights as storm batters Europe

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Scores of flights and trains were cancelled in the Netherlands and drivers were warned to stay off the roads as the country was hit by a powerful storm that was set to lash large parts of Europe.

Dutch airline KLM cancelled more than 200 flights before the storm and Amsterdam’s busy Schiphol Airport reported many other delays and cancellations as the national weather service said it recorded wind gusts of up to 140 kph (87 mph) in the southern port of Hook of Holland.

Water authorities in the low-lying Netherlands also were closely monitoring the storm and preparing to close locks and storm barriers if necessary because of high-water levels.

Trains were also taking a battering, with many delays and cancellations, including between the towns of Gouda and Alphen aan den Rijn due to what the national rail service called a collision between a train and a trampoline. The service had no further details of the collision.

Trees were uprooted and lorries toppled by the high winds, but there were no immediate reports of casualties blamed on the wild weather.

Neighbouring Belgium also was being lashed by the storm with the port of Ghent closed because of the high winds.

Belgium set off its code orange alert — the second highest storm warning — for the north of the country early Thursday and tram traffic had to be halted in parts of the capital Brussels, where several public parks had to be closed.

Trees were uprooted in several cities but air traffic at the international airport of Zaventem was largely uninterrupted.

In many parts of Germany, schools remained closed as the country prepares for the storm that was expected to bring heavy snow, rain and gusty winds.

Authorities warned Germans, especially in western and northern Germany, to not leave their homes on Thursday if possible.

German Railways said on its website that many trains would decrease their speed because of the storm and that delays are expected.

Firefighters and police responded late Wednesday to numerous car crashes in northern and southern Germany because of heavy snowfall and slippery roads.

German news agency dpa reported that police said that there were crashes “every other minute” on highways between Wilhelmshaven and Westerstede in northern Germany.

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