Gales hit Scotland, north Europe braces for storm

Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — Gale-force winds hit Scotland on Thursday, leaving thousands of homes without electricity and halting trains, as much of northwestern Europe braced for a storm that was expected to bring flooding to coastal areas and disrupt transport.

Winds gusting up to 114 miles (183 kilometers) per hour were measured in the Scottish Highlands, and many roads and bridges were closed. All train services in Scotland were suspended; Network Rail spokesman Nick King said that "there's too much debris and too much damage to equipment to continue."

A number of flights serving Scotland were also canceled.

Glasgow's central station was evacuated after debris smashed glass in the roof, though no one was hurt.

Weather forecasters predicted winds gusting up to 87 miles (140 kilometers) per hour on Germany's North Sea coast. Britain's Environment Agency said tidal surges could bring "significant" coastal flooding, and the Thames Barrier was closed to protect London.

Ferry operators canceled services to some of Germany's North Sea islands and the country's national railway, Deutsche Bahn, warned of likely disruption across a swathe of northern Germany.

The Netherlands braced for the storm by closing water barriers that protect the low-lying country from high tides. The Oosterscheldekering in the southwestern delta region of the country was being closed to protect the land behind it for the first time since 2007.

National carrier KLM canceled dozens of flights to European airports as a precaution.

The German Weather Service said the storm front, which was gathering strength as it headed eastward from the Atlantic Ocean off Greenland, would also bring polar air to Europe — meaning that it could bring snow to low-lying areas.

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