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Savage coastal storm racks western Europe

At least 13 reported dead

October 28, 2013

A savage coastal storm powered by hurricane-force gusts slashed its way through Britain and western Europe felling trees, flooding lowlands and snarling traffic in the air, at sea and on land. At least 13 people were reported killed.

It was one of the worst storms to hit the region in years. The deadly storm had no formal name, and wasn’t officially classified as a hurricane due to a meteorological standard, but it was dubbed the St. Jude storm (after the patron saint of lost causes) and ‘stormageddon’ on social networks.

Gusts of 99 mph were reported on the Isle of Wright in southern England, while gusts up to 80 mph hit the British mainland. Later in the day, the Danish capital of Copenhagen saw record gusts up to 120 mph . An autobahn in central Germany was shut down by gusts up to 62 mph.

St. Jude, dubbed the Great Storm of 2013, caused devastation as it swept across Britain Sunday night leaving hundreds of thousands of homes without power. Some 460,000 homes lost power, with a further 75,000 homes affected in northern France.

The Met Office said almost two inches of rain fell in some areas of Britain overnight, while the Environment Agency issued around 130 flood alerts.

The port of Dover in Kent had to shut, more than 130 flights at Heathrow Airport were cancelled, and many roads were impassable due to fallen trees.

The electricity also went down at a nuclear power station in southeast England. Dungeness B station automatically closed down both its reactors, leaving its diesel generators to provide power for essential safety systems.

On the London Underground, only three lines - Victoria, Hammersmith & City and Waterloo & City- were operating normally through the morning rush hour.

There were no trains at all running on London Overground, while there were part- suspensions on the Central, District, metropolitan and Piccadilly lines.

Amsterdam was one of the hardest- hit cities as the storm surged up the Dutch coast. Powerful wind gusts toppled trees into canals in the capital’s historic center and sent branches falling onto rail and tram lines, halting almost all public transportation.

Ferries in the Baltic Sea, including between Denmark and Sweden, were canceled after the Swedish Meteorological Institute upgraded its storm warning to the highest possible level, class 3, which indicates “very extreme weather that could pose great danger.”

It had been predicted to be the worst for a decade, but the devastation was not as bad as many feared, and fell far short of that caused by the “Great Storm” of October 1987.

During that storm, 22 people died in Britain and France and the damage was estimated at 1.2 billion euros at current exchange rates.

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