Storm batters Europe

2017-01-14 21:16
A snowplough clears a street near Ruhpolding in Germany. (Matthias Schrader, AP)

A snowplough clears a street near Ruhpolding in Germany. (Matthias Schrader, AP)

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The Hague - Dutch water management authorities have closed several locks across waterways to prevent flooding as a high tide, co-inciding with a strong storm over the North Sea, pushes up water levels near the coast of this low-lying nation.

Locks in the Haringvliet south of Rotterdam and the Hollandsche Ijssel east of Rotterdam were closed to protect low-lying areas. Locks also were closed in the 32.5km Afsluitdijk dike that separates the IJsellmeer inland sea from the Wadden Sea north of Amsterdam.

The national water authority says that several other major locks weren't expected to close because water levels weren't high enough.

About 26% of the Netherlands lies below sea level and a further 29% is within river flood plains, meaning that 55% of the country is considered susceptible to flooding, according to the government's Environmental Assessment Agency.

Below freezing

Meanwhile French police said that a big tree snapped in a powerful gust of wind and killed a 43-year-old woman in front of her children. She was killed in the hills above Nice in the south of France as she was leaving her house with her children.

The Vatican is letting homeless people sleep in a Rome church during a spell of unusually cold weather for the Italian capital. Nighttime temperatures in Rome have dropped below freezing.

The Vatican said about 30 people, Italians and foreigners, had accepted the invitation to sleep inside the St Calixtus church, whose foundations were laid near a well where Pope Calixtus I was martyred in 222.

Inside the church, which is Vatican property, the homeless are using sleeping bags or blankets. Since the stone interior of the church is cold itself, electric heaters have been placed on the floor.

Extremely dangerous

And in the UK, British authorities put the military on standby in the event of flooding along the east coast of Britain. Warnings had been issued.

Environment Agency national duty manager Mark Sitton-Kent said that "the combination of gale-force winds, high tides, dangerous waves carrying rocks and a coastal surge means parts of the east coast are extremely dangerous."

Snow has also hit parts of Britain.

Read more on:    the netherlands  |  italy  |  uk  |  france  |  weather

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