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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fierce storms in France, Spain, Portugal kill 16 -- winds of 90-130 mph

Fierce storms in France, Spain, Portugal kill 16 

A car damaged by a falling tree is seen near Arlanzon, Spain, on early Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010. The two passengers of the car were killed. A storm with very strong winds hit Spain over the weekend.(AP Photo/I.Lopez)

by DEBORAH SEWARD, from Associated Press,February 28, 2010 12:08 PM EST

PARIS (AP) — A violent late winter storm with fierce rain and hurricane-strength winds battered France, Spain and Portugal Sunday, leaving at least 16 people dead.

Most of the 12 victims in France drowned, while others died when hit by parts of buildings or trees and branches that were ripped off by the wind.

Nearly 900,000 people in France were without electricity. Rivers overflowed their banks in Brittany, and the threat of avalanches was high in the Pyrenees Mountains and the southern Alps due to wind and wet snow.
In Paris, winds knocked over motorcycles and spewed  garbage around the streets of the capital. Flights were delayed and some were canceled at the two main Paris airports. A number of trains in western France were delayed due to flooded tracks.

Winds reached about 130 mph (200 kph) on the summits of the Pyrenees and about 90 mph (150 kph) along the Atlantic Coast.

In neighboring Spain, the Interior Minister said three people were killed by hurricane-strength winds and heavy rainfall that lashed the country's northern regions over the weekend.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the storm had been intense in certain regions and had caused the deaths of a woman in northwestern Ourense and of two people whose car was hit by a falling tree in Arlanzon just north of Madrid.

The national weather agency had warned that a violent cyclone depression had formed over the Atlantic Ocean and was to cross areas bordering the Bay of Biscay.

Winds gusting up to 118 mph (190 kph) had blown over the Canary Islands overnight Friday causing a crane to collapse on a building, lampposts to fall onto parked cars and forcing flight cancellations.

Portugal's home affairs minister Rui Pereira said a child had been killed Saturday by a falling tree in Paredes.

The 10-year-old had been playing ball near a church while waiting to go to a prayer meeting when a falling branch crushed him, Pereira said.



susan said...

Death toll now up to at least 50:

FredT said...

Right now 48 people have been found dead in France... and it might well go higher. Many banks have been broken in sea towns by wind and high tide.