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fierce weather

Pictures: After battering Ireland, Storm Eleanor is causing chaos on the continent

The storm has moved through France, Belgium and the Netherlands today.

Eleanor Storm - Normandy A submerged car in Normandy, France. Desfoux / AND/ABACA Desfoux / AND/ABACA / AND/ABACA

WINTER STORM ELEANOR swept into France, Belgium and the Netherlands today after tearing through Ireland and the UK, cutting power to tens of thousands of people and forcing airports and train services to halt operations.

A skiier was killed by a falling tree at Morillon in the French Alps while 15 others have been injured by the storm across the country, four of them seriously, civil defence spokesman Michael Bernier told AFP.

Another person was hurt by a falling tree in the southern Dutch village of Heesch.

Heavy winds led the airports in Strasbourg and Basel-Mulhouse on France’s border with Germany and Switzerland to close before they were reopened shortly after midday.

Storm front 'Burglind' - Baden-Wuerttemberg A tree falls onto a truck in Feldberg, Germany. Patrick Seeger DPA / PA Images Patrick Seeger DPA / PA Images / PA Images

At Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, 60% of departures were delayed this morning, as were a third of arrivals, while a handful of flights had to be rerouted before the winds eased back a bit.

The winds were also wreaking havoc with train services in several French regions.

France Storm Damaged scaffolding in Paris. Thibault Camus AP / PA Images Thibault Camus AP / PA Images / PA Images

About 200,000 homes across northern France were without electricity, while “particularly intense” flooding was expected on the Atlantic coasts.

The Eiffel Tower, which attracts six million visitors a year, was closed until at least this afternoon, while worries about falling tree branches prompted Paris officials to close all city parks for the day.

‘Woken people up’

Winter weather Jan 3rd 2018 A collapsed harbour wall in Portreath in Cornwall. Steve Parsons / PA Images Steve Parsons / PA Images / PA Images

Eleanor barrelled into continental Europe after whipping across England, Northern Ireland and Ireland, with the Thames Barrier, one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world, closed as a precautionary measure to protect London from swelling tides.

“We have seen some heavy showers push through across the south of the UK along with hail, loud thunder and lightning, which has woken people up,” said meteorologist Becky Mitchell.

Winter weather Jan 3rd 2018 A tree washes up on a beach in Hampshire. Ben Mitchell / PA Images Ben Mitchell / PA Images / PA Images

Gusts of 160 kilometres per hour were recorded at Great Dun Fell in Westmorland, north-west England, while overturned vehicles and trees caused closures of major motorways.

In Ireland, the ESB said electricity had been restored to 123,000 customers, while 27,000 remained without power.

Streets around the docks in Galway on the west coast were flooded after high tides breached the sea defences, prompting the deployment of about two dozen troops to support flood defence efforts.

The south and west of the country are under threat of further flooding as more stormy conditions are expected.

Flooding and flight delays

Belgium and parts of Spain were also put on “orange” alert, the third of four warning levels, with officials urging people to exercise caution when venturing out.

Although the winds eased toward midday, rescue workers in Brussels were kept busy with about 70 calls across the city, mainly after trees were knocked down, and several parks were closed.

In the Netherlands, 252 of about 1,200 flights were cancelled at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, a key European hub, as weather alerts were issued for several regions.

Winter weather Jan 3rd 2018 A piece of masonry falls through a car in London Victoria Jones / PA Images Victoria Jones / PA Images / PA Images

Several main roads and train lines were also closed as officials rushed to prepare flooding defences.

Flights were also disrupted at Frankfurt’s airport in Germany, where the storm has been baptised Burglind, and at Zurich airport, as Swiss officials urged hikers to avoid forest walks.

RTS television reported that about 14,000 homes were without power in several Swiss cantons.

Imago 20180103 A ski resort in Germany. Imago / PA Images Imago / PA Images / PA Images

Eleanor is the fourth major storm to hit Europe since December.

The storm is now heading for the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, where meteorologists are warning of violent gusts that could reach 200 kilometres per hour.

Austria is also in its path, where the avalanche risk was expected to be raised to four on a scale of five in several areas this afternoon.

© – AFP 2018

Read: Threat of flooding in south and west as more stormy conditions expected

Read: Dublin Fire Brigade was very busy dealing with Storm Eleanor yesterday

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