Ciara presses east as storm ravages coast overnight

In what hurricane-level conditions have been, Storm Ciara has walloped the northwestern part of Europe.

Winds recorded as high as 130 kilometers per hour (80 miles per hour), driving rain, and even sleet hit the region overnight causing outages, downing power lines, and causing flooding from Ireland to Belgium, France, and the U.K.

As of 9.00 a.m. (0800GMT), 26 departments in northern France, including the Seine-Maritime and Ile-de-France (Paris region), remained on orange alert by national weather agency Meteo-France. The towns Le Havre and Calais, which provide maritime transport to Dove on the coast of England, resumed Monday morning after having been shuttered on Sunday.

According to electricity distributor Enedis, nearly 130,000 households were without power in northern France on Monday morning.

In the Vosges, wind speed was highest at 152 kph (94 mph) overnight. In the Jura and Massif Central regions, gusts persist Monday at 80 kph (50 mph) but are reaching 100-110 kph (62-68 mph) on the Alpine ridges and in Manche on the English Channel, as reported by Meteo-France.

In Belgium, the storm registered the highest wind speed in the country’s history Sunday, at 115 kph (71 mph) in the northwestern coastal town Middlekerk. Only one serious injury was reported.

Public transport was severely disrupted countrywide. At least 20 flights were canceled at Brussels airport Monday, with others delayed, and baggage handling services were even interrupted. Apart from a few suburban train lines, public transport was restored Monday morning when national authorities lowered the alert to yellow from orange.

The U.K.’s meteorological service Sunday issued 250 flood warnings.

Weather services in Germany predict the storm, known as Sabine, will strengthen in the south and has issued the highest Level 4 warning, especially for Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg.

As of Monday morning, the danger had passed in the north, where all long-distance train travel and hundreds of flights were halted. Winds as high as 170 kph (106 mph) were recorded in the southern Black Forest region.

Authorities in Ireland have also issued an orange weather warning as Storm Ciara continues to batter the country and snow and icy conditions are expected until late hours on Monday.

The warning came into effect for counties of Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare and Kerry.

A combination of spring tides and high seas may add a significant risk of coastal flooding, according to RTE news.

More than 5,000 homes, farms and businesses are left without power in worst affected areas in Galway city and Claremorris in County Mayo.

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