Europe grapples with Storm Ciara's high winds

Europe grapples with Storm Ciara's high winds
Waves crash against a lighthouse in Boulogne-sur-Mer, FranceImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Heavy rains have battered countries across Europe, including France

Severe warnings have been issued across parts of northern Europe as Storm Ciara sweeps across the continent.

High winds and heavy rain continue to batter areas of Ireland, France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and Scandinavia.

The storm led to travel disruptions and the cancellation of several public events over the weekend.

Forecasters predict it will continue to move south-eastwards, bringing gusts of over 90mph (145km/h) in some areas.

In Ireland, around 14,000 homes and businesses were left without power as the country begins counting ballots for its general election.

Organisers also cancelled an opening ceremony to mark the beginning of Galway's year as the European Capital of Culture, citing public safety.

Over in Denmark, a woman and a child had to be rescued from the North Sea after they were swept into the water while walking along a pier.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption High winds have also brought severe disruption around the continent

France issued amber warnings - its second-highest level - for 35 regions of the country, including Normandy, the Ardennes and Lorraine. People have been warned to stay away from coastal and wooded areas.

Forecasters in Norway, meanwhile, have issued red warnings - their highest risk level - for some southern and western areas due to concerns about high seas.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Severe weather has disrupted flights in several major European airports

These same concerns have also led to the suspension of ferry services in the English Channel.

Gale force winds grounded dozens of flights in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Frankfurt, Brussels and Amsterdam Schipol were among the airports affected.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Storm Ciara is know as as Elsa in Norway, and Sabine in Germany and Switzerland

German railway firm Deutsche Bahn also warned of severe disruptions in the north of the country.

Storm Ciara - known as Elsa in Norway, and Sabine in Germany and Switzerland - is the most severe winter storm to hit the continent in 2020.

This year's storm names have already been chosen, with Dennis due to be the name for the next storm.

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