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Major storm batters UK and France

Updated: 2013-10-29 07:20
By Agencies in London and Lille, France ( China Daily)

A major storm with hurricane-force gusts is lashing southern Britain, parts of France and the Netherlands, causing flooding and travel delays, including the cancellation of roughly 130 flights at London's Heathrow Airport.

Express train services between central London and Gatwick and Stansted airports were suspended because of the storm, and the major English port of Dover was closed, leading to a cutoff of ferry services to France.

Thousands of homes in northwestern France lost electricity, while in the Netherlands several rail lines were closed, airport delays were reported and citizens were warned against riding their bicycles - a favored form of transport - because of high winds. Amsterdam's Central railway station was shut by storm damage.

Two ferries carrying more than 450 passengers were stranded on Monday in stormy seas off Dover after a massive storm shut down the British port, French authorities said.

"Two ferries are blocked due to the closure of Dover port, one carrying 398 passengers and the other 65," said the harbor master's office at the French port of Calais.

"The situation is under control," it said.

In a separate statement, a spokesman for P&O Ferries said the port at Dover had been closed since morning, adding that the gale-force winds were expected to slow down and the port would reopen by noon.

Some English rail lines shut down on Monday morning, and some roads were closed due to fallen trees and power lines. There were severe delays on many parts of the London Underground network and the opening of the Overground network was delayed several hours.

Air travelers and commuters were advised to check conditions before starting any journeys. Widespread delays were expected as major London train lines delayed their opening because of the winds and tree hazards.


Major storm batters UK and France

Waves crash onto a seawall protecting the harbor of Porthleven, Cornwall, in southwest England, on Sunday. Ben Birchall / Press Association via Associated Press

Major storm batters UK and France

(China Daily 10/29/2013 page12)