TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
LONDON — A violent storm packing winds of up to 100 mph battered parts of western Europe Wednesday, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes across France, Britain and Ireland without power and causing damage to trains and roads in Germany.
The storm, which included heavy rain, hail and lightning, also led to some bridge and road closures in England. In southwestern England, extremely high tides caused the partial collapse of a harbour wall in Cornwall, bringing seawater flooding in.
Overturned vehicles forced officials to close portions of three major highways in England. The country’s main weather forecaster, the Met Office, says gusts reached 100 mph in Cumbria, 450 kilometres northwest of London, early Wednesday morning when the storm peaked.
The storm then crossed the English Channel to damage power systems in France and Germany.
Forecasters said gusts of up to 80 mph are possible Wednesday.
Strong winds battered Paris’ biggest airport Charles de Gaulle. Paris’ airport authority said that flights have been disrupted with slight delays stemming from precautions being taken to safely get travellers into aircraft.
France’s national electricity provider says it left some 200,000 households without electricity across the country, including 30,000 in the Paris region.
The windstorm battered northern France with winds surpassing 90 mph. Photos of destroyed cars, collapsed scaffolding and uprooted trees have appeared across social media.
In Germany, zoos were closed, roads were flooded and a train derailed as the storm battered many regions.
The German news agency dpa reported Wednesday that a train derailed near Luenen in western Germany when it crashed against a tree that had fallen on the tracks. No injuries were reported.
Highways near Duisburg and Juelich in the west were also partially blocked because of toppled trees and flooding.
The zoos in Munich and Augsburg in Bavaria closed for the day and the rack railway leading up on Germany’s tallest mountain, the Zugspitze, was also shut down because of the storm.