Storm kills three in the Netherlands, flights scrapped

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport briefly suspended all air traffic on Thursday as gusts of up to 140 kph were recorded along the coast.

People walk with a bicycle through fierce winds in Rotterdam, on 18 January 2018, during the second western storm of the year. Picture: AFP

AMSTERDAM - Three people were killed in the Netherlands on Thursday as powerful winds toppled trees, blew trucks off the road and forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport briefly suspended all air traffic on Thursday as gusts of up to 140 kph were recorded along the coast.

At least 260 flights were scrapped and falling roof tiles led to the closure of airport terminals. Nationwide train services and many tram and bus services were halted after the highest weather alert was issued.

Police said three people were killed by falling trees or debris in separate incidents.

In Rotterdam, shipping containers were toppled and entire roofs ripped off homes, local TV showed.

Schiphol later said some flights would resume as the storm moved inland, but that there would be severe delays.

In Germany, railway operator Deutsche Bahn said it had suspended all services in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s most populous, leaving hundreds of thousands of travellers and commuters stranded.

“Since this affects many long-distance connections, there are effects on the entire rail services, also internationally,” Deutsche Bahn said.

In Munich, eight domestic flights by Lufthansa were cancelled, the airport operator said.