Severe winter storm kills 5, delays Christmas travel for thousands in Britain, France - InfoNews

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Severe winter storm kills 5, delays Christmas travel for thousands in Britain, France

Passengers wait underneath blank departure screens following a power outage at the North Terminal of London Gatwick Airport in Horley, England, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. A severe winter storm has caused major travel problems in Britain, leading to substantial delays Tuesday at London Gatwick Airport and on roads and rail lines at the height of the Christmas travel period. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
December 24, 2013 - 10:20 AM

LONDON - A severe winter storm caused major travel problems in parts of western Europe Tuesday, stranding passengers travelling for Christmas at Paris and London airports and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes without power.

The storm caused four deaths in Britain, including a man who jumped into a fast-flowing river to try and rescue his dog. The severe weather also left a 12-year-old boy crushed to death beneath construction materials in Normandy, France.

In Britain, thousands of people trying to get away for the holidays were affected by reduced or cancelled train services due to landslides and fallen trees and flooded roads. Power outages at London Gatwick Airport's North Terminal caused 26 cancellations and many more delays.

The airport, the country's second-largest, said the problems were caused by flooding from a nearby river triggered by heavy rains.

Across the English Channel, nearly all long-haul flights out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport were delayed because of the storm, according to the Paris airport authority website.

Electricity provider ERDF said the winds left nearly 200,000 homes in western France without electricity.

France's Interior Ministry says the 12-year-old boy was killed at a construction site in Saint Germain de Tallevande and another person was seriously injured.

The Energy Networks Association, which represents power companies across the U.K., said 150,000 homes were without power, mainly in the south of England.

Power supplier Southern Electric said some may not get electricity back in time for Christmas Day.

The Environment Agency issued hundreds of flood warnings across all of England and Wales, with a severe flood warning — the highest level, warning of danger to life — in southwest England.

Two people died in car accidents, and one woman's body was pulled from a river in north Wales.

In Spain, extremely strong winds battered the northwestern Galicia region, and a tree that fell down on rail tracks prompted the derailment of a commuter train. None of the 10 passengers or the crew members were injured.

Wind speeds hit 185 kilometres per hour (115 mph) in some coastal areas of Galicia, and the region's fishing fleet stayed in port. As many as 88,000 homes lost electrical power, and crews were trying to restore it.

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Associated Press Writers Jorge Sainz in Madrid and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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