Storm Ciara battered the U.K. and northern Europe with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains Sunday, halting flights and trains and producing heaving seas that closed down ports. Soccer games, farmers’ markets and cultural events were cancelled as authorities urged millions of people to stay indoors, away from falling tree branches.
The storm brought massive gusts that hit 93 mph (150 mph) at the northern Welsh village of Aberdaron and 86 mph (138 kph) at the Welsh town of Capel Curig.
At least 10 rail companies in Britain sent out “do not travel” warnings, while nearly 20 others told passengers to expect extensive delays. London’s Heathrow Airport and several airlines consolidated flights Sunday to reduce the number cancelled by heavy winds. British Airways offered to rebook customers for domestic and European flights out of Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports. Virgin Airlines cancelled some flights.
Two huge ports on either side of the English Channel, Dover in England and Calais in France, shut down operations amid high waves. Ferries were cancelled across the region, including in the turbulent Irish Sea and the North Sea. The Humber Bridge in northern England also shut down, a move its website said was only the second time the massive bridge had been entirely closed.
Breaking with her usual Sunday routine, Queen Elizabeth II did not attend church in Sandringham due to high winds.
In Germany, where the storm is known as “Sabine,” national railway operator Deutsche Bahn cancelled long-distance trains to destinations most at risk, including Emden and Norddeich in Germany’s northwestern corner, the northern city of Kiel and the North Sea island of Sylt.
The storm is also expected to smash into southern Norway’s coast and hit southern and western parts of Sweden.