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Powerful storm lashes northern Europe

Powerful winds and heavy rain swept across northern Europe over the weekend, leaving at least 13 people dead.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Powerful winds and heavy rain swept across northern Europe over the weekend, leaving at least 13 dead and two missing and disrupting air and sea transport. Hundreds of thousands of homes lost power.

The storm was one of the worst to hit Scandinavia in years, with winds clocked in some areas at more than 75 mph, meteorologists said.

At least six people died in Sweden, including two whose cars were hit by falling tree branches, police and rescue officials said. One motorist died in Denmark when a tree crashed onto his car in Odense, and three others were killed by debris and falling trees.

Airports in Copenhagen, the Danish capital, and Malmoe, Sweden’s third-largest city, were temporarily closed Saturday with many inbound flights rerouted, among them one carrying Sweden’s Queen Silvia who was on her way to Malmoe to attend a memorial service for people killed in the Asian tsunami. The airports reopened Sunday morning.

The storm left more than 400,000 Swedish households without power. In Denmark, about 60,000 households lost electricity.

Gales and heavy rain also battered north Britain, causing serious flooding.

The northwestern city of Carlisle was cut off by the swollen River Eden on Saturday and people climbed to upper stories to escape the rising floodwaters.

Three people were reported dead in the city, including a 63-year-old man who was killed Saturday when a barn blew down, and two elderly women whose bodies were found in their flood-affected homes, police said.

At least one other person was reportedly swept away in a swollen river in Yorkshire county, northern England, while gusts up to 90 mph were recorded and many trucks overturned on highways.

In the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein, wind damaged houses and forced the shutdown of train and ferry links and highway bridges. Two 20-year-old men whose kayak capsized on a lake near the town of Landwedel were missing and presumed dead, police said.

In the Russian city of St. Petersburg, cars plowed through fender-deep water on flooded streets and six subway stations were shut Sunday morning because water levels on the gulf were dangerously high, a city emergency official said. Three stations reopened later. The water reached 8 feet above normal levels at one point.