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Deadly Storm Batters Western Europe

March 1, 2010 — The clean-up is now underway in France, Spain and Germany after a deadly storm hit the countries this weekend.

A powerful storm named 'Xynthia' hammered western Europe this weekend, uprooting trees, snapping powerlines and leaving at least 55 people dead.

France was one of the hardest hit countries, with many people still listed as missing. The damaging storm whipped up waves along the coast and triggered widespread flooding. Hundreds of people had to be rescued from their rooftops overnight. At one point, more than a million people had no electricity.

French officials say it's the worst damage from a storm the country has seen since the late 1990's, and Prime Minister Francois Fillon has called it a 'national catastrophe.'

Spain also took a big hit from this storm.

First, it swept past the Canary Islands with winds gusting close to 200 kilometres per hour. That's well over hurricane strength. On the mainland, at least three people lost their lives. Two were killed when their car hit a fallen tree. Damage was also widespread in some parts of Portugal.

Eventually, the storm brushed past Belgium and hammered Germany. The winds were so severe that authorities warned residents to stay home throughout the day on Sunday. Flights and rail service were affected, which led to some travel nightmares.

Today, the weather has eased, and in many places, things are slowly getting back to normal. But in others, the clean-up and recovery is expected to take days.

For more details on the storm damage across western Europe, make sure you tune into Weather News on TV. It comes up at :12 and :42 minutes past each hour.

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