Britain braced for severe flooding and the worst tidal surge in 60 years after a powerful storm with hurricane-force gusts hit the country Thursday and began moving across Europe.
The storm prompted evacuations, snarled transport and left tens of thousands of homes without electricity. At least three people died in accidents linked to the weather.
About 10,000 homes along the eastern English coast were evacuated after Britain’s Environment Agency warned the country could face its worst tidal surge in 60 years. The Thames Barrier — a series of huge metal plates that can be raised across the entire river — was being closed late Thursday to protect London from the surge.
Tidal floods — caused as the storm drives huge amounts of seawater toward the land — were expected in Britain, Germany and Scandinavia, together with freezing high winds from Greenland.
The Environment Agency put out more than 50 flood warnings for various parts of the U.K., with the risk of flooding stretching into this morning.
The storm first plowed into Scotland overnight, slamming the highlands with gusts up to 142 miles per hour. Trains were suspended for much of Thursday but began to run fitfully later as some routes were cleared of debris.
Transportation troubles, however, spread throughout northwestern Europe. All flights to and from Copenhagen’s international airport were halted late Thursday due to the storm, officials said.
Almost all flights to and from Hamburg airport in northern Germany also were canceled.