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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 1°C
batten down the hatches

The deadliest storms to ever hit Europe

The worst year was 1999 when two storms resulted in 140 fatalities.

HOME AND BUSINESS owners in various parts of the country have been dealing with the aftermath of Storm Desmond, which brought major flooding.

Problems with rising water levels continued over the weekend with prolonged periods of heavy rainfall.

Though the clean-up after the stormy weather of the last few weeks will be costly, Storm Desmond did not come close to causing as much damage as some of those that have previously hit Europe.

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In 1999, two violent storms called Lothar and Martin swept across western and central Europe causing major damage in France, Germany, Swizerland and Italy. Wind speeds during Storm Lothar reached 15o km per hour and some 10,000 trees in the park of the Palace of Versailles were lost in just two hours.

A total of 110 people lost their lives during the first storm which caused more than €10 billion worth of damage. A further 30 people also died when Storm Martin hit.

Another serious storm, Kyrill, brought a cyclone to Europe in 2007 with hurricane-strength winds.

GERMANY STORM Associated Press Kyrill damaged the facade of Berlin's main train station. It was evacuated and sealed due to danger of collapse. Associated Press

It reached Ireland in mid-January and then moved through Britain and onto German and Dutch coasts resulting in 47 fatalities and widespread damage.

Still the strongest storm (in terms of atmospheric pressure) to ever hit Ireland was Hurricane Debbie in 1961. Debbie brought winds of up to 183 km per hour and at several locations, all-time wind gust records were broken.

Twelve people were killed in Ireland during the storm – most when trees fell on their cars.

Most of the damage occurred in Kerry, Limerick, Donegal and Sligo with a number of buildings destroyed. Trees were downed and power lines were also damaged, leaving many without electricity.

Work this week to repair Storm Desmond’s destruction is due to continue but forecasters have warned we may not have seen the worst of the bad weather this winter.

Read: Status orange warning issued as Shannon water levels continue rising>

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