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Hurricane-force storm smashes into UK, Europe; 13 dead

Emergency services work at the scene of a fallen tree that crushed a 17-year-old girl to death after falling during Britain's worst storm in years. Toby Melville / Reuters

A major storm with wind gusts of up to 99 mph lashed southern Britain, the Netherlands, France and Germany on Monday, knocking down trees, flooding low areas and causing travel chaos. As many as 13 people were killed.

Two people were crushed to death by falling trees and a teenage boy was feared dead after the worst storm in five years blasted into Britain , leaving more than 200,000 homes without power. 

A 17-year-old girl was sleeping when a tree smashed onto her home in Hever, a small town south of London at around 7 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET), police said.

Around the same time in nearby Watford another tree fell into a car, killing a 50-year-old man, officers added. 

“A large tree trunk fell right on the roof of the vehicle, crushing it," eyewitness Mark Joseph told the Watford Observer newspaper. “A number of people tried to assist the trapped driver by trying to lift the roof of the car. A number of people were filming."

People were advised to stay indoors, and even the royal family in Britain were reportedly hunkering down, waiting out the storm, Us Weekly reported.

A crane which collapsed on to a London government building during the severe St. Jude storm that swept through Britain. Scott Campbell / Getty Images

A 14-year-old boy was also feared drowned after getting caught up in rough seas when he was swimming with a friend in nearby Newhaven, shortly before the storm dubbed “St. Jude,” after the patron saint of lost causes who is traditionally celebrated on Oct. 28, blasted into the country.

"This is a very distressing incident and everything possible is being done to try to find the boy," a police spokesperson told NBC News Monday.

Police added that “treacherous conditions” had forced them to call off the search at 10 p.m. local time (6 p.m. ET) Sunday and they were unsure about whether they would be able to get out again Monday. The friend was not swept off and is safe.

The latest report counts five deaths in Britain, six in Germany and the Netherlands and Denmark had one each. One woman was also missing after being swept into the surf in France, the Associated Press reports.

Winds whipped to nearly 100 mph and rain lashed as the storm arrived late Sunday night.

Theo Harcourt, a 13-year-old student, jumps over a fallen tree as he makes his way to school in London after strong storm winds and rain battered southern parts of Britain early Monday. Olivia Harris / Reuters

As a result, around 270,000 homes in Britain were left without power according to the Energy Networks Association, an industry body that represents the U.K.'s power companies.

Two nuclear power reactors were also forced to close shut down, energy company, EDF said on their website.

"The shutdown was weather-related. The plant reacted as it should and shut down safely," a spokesperson said. 

They added that the station was liaising with National Grid regarding returning the power supply.

Transport was also disrupted as London’s Heathrow Airport said around 20 percent of flights would be cancelled between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. local time (2 a.m – 6 a.m. ET). Bridges were also closed by the Highway Agency.

Network Rail, Britain's rail network operator, saying they were unlikely to get going before 9 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) in some areas. Some roads would remain closed throughout the day, officials said.

The strongest recorded winds hit England's Isle of Wight at 99 mph at 6 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), the country's Meteorological Office said. 

They added that “damaging gusts” would hit places throughout the day and it would stay windy through Monday evening and night and they expected it to peter out tomorrow.

"The thing that's unusual about this one is that most of our storms develop out over the Atlantic so that they've done all their strengthening and deepening by the time they reach us," Met spokeswoman Helen Chivers told Reuters. 

"This one is developing as it crosses the UK, which is why it brings the potential for significant disruption ... and that doesn't happen very often.”

The storm left Britain in the early afternoon Monday.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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