Friday, January 19, 2007

Massive Storm named Kyrill

Well, I was going to write last night but decided to go to bed instead.

We had a terrible storm here yesterday. We did not know how bad it was supposed to be since we do not have TV or Radio here. All I knew, is it was raining and the wind was blowing a little. But that was not abnormal for here in Germany. We got a phone call at 6:45 am from a mom in Shantal's class saying if the weather stayed the way it was, then her teacher was going to let the kids out early. I could not believe that the kids would be getting out early for rain and wind. I came here from Wisconsin and we barely got out for huge snow storms.

Well, Shantal did get out an hour early. But Spencer came home an hour late. Go figure. The wind did increase during the day. And by the time Gardner got home, I could not believe the outside. It was a serious storm. Gardner decided to come home on an earlier train than normal last night. When he got off here in Ratingen, he heard that was the last train for awhile. Thank heavens he was on THAT train. And come to find out, the trains STILL have not been back up and this is now Friday night.

Gardner went to work this morning not knowing the trains still were not running. Took him 2 hours to get to work and then 2 hours to return tonight. He had to make several transfers on several different buses and street trains.

The storm we had is something I have never experienced. It shook our windows. I wondered at one point if the windows would break. You could see the windows bellow out and in. Here in Germany, they have metal blinds on the outside of their windows so you can not see ANYTHING inside when they are closed. You would never know someone was home. Anyway, we finally closed those all the way and I am sure that is what saved the windows. We did get some damage to our hard wood floors on the top floor. The window was not locked and the wind kept blowing it open and causing water to come inside. We are hoping our insurance will cover that.

The storm was something comparable to a hurricane type winds. They are calling it "Kyrill". I have several pictures to show and I also am copying and pasting some news articles from .

Massive storm kills over 40 across Europe

Some 44 people lost their lives during one of the most devastating storms to hit Europe in decades. Here in Germany, 11 people are known to have died in storm-related incidents. Initial estimates say that storm "Kyrill" caused around one billion euros of damage. Travel was disrupted throughout the country. For the first time in its history the German national rail company had to suspend all of its services and more than 200 flights were cancelled at Frankfurt Airport. The storm also uprooted trees, battered buildings and caused major flooding. Hundreds of thousands of households across Europe were left without power. The storm is now hitting Poland and heading towards Ukraine.

Killer Winds in Europe Expected to Cause Heavy Financial Loss

Germany woke up to death and destruction Friday after Kyrill swept through the country

The storm that lashed northern Europe on Thursday is estimated to have caused more than one billion euros in damage to Germany, among the countries worst hit by the storm which killed at least 44 people across Europe.

The storm claimed 11 lives in Germany, halted rail services and forced the closure of Berlin's central train station after a girder collapsed, authorities said Friday.

For the first time in its history, the Deutsche Bahn national railway company suspended all services across the country as a precautionary measure after high winds blew trees on to the tracks.

Thousands of travelers were forced to spend the night in railway stations or seek emergency accommodation after train services across the country were cancelled.

Rail services were gradually returning to normal Friday but passengers were warned they faced further delays. "We're not taking any risks as far as passengers are concerned," said Hartmut Mehdorn, the head of the national rail company Deutsche Bahn, in justifying the unprecedented step.

Berlin's brand new central station, the biggest in Europe, was closed Thursday when high winds tore a steel girder from its high-tech facade. The two-ton girder fell 40 meters (130 feet) on to a stairway, police said. "No-one was hurt, thank God," said Volker Knauer, the Deutsche Bahn spokesman for the station.

The station was re-opened to passengers by lunchtime Friday, but train services remained heavily disrupted.

Embarassing blow to flagship station

Berlin's new station took a battering from the storm

Structural engineers were seeking to establish why the steel and glass building, which only opened eight months ago after being built for an estimated cost of one billion euros (1.29 billion dollars), had failed to withstand the first storm it has had to contend with.

Press reports said the storm, named "Kyrill" by German meteorologists, was the most powerful in the country in about 30 years, with winds gusting up to more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) per hour.

Many schools and businesses closed early on Thursday before the full force of the storm struck, bringing torrential rain and flooding to some areas, including parts of Berlin.

Eleven lives lost across Germany

Germany's autobahns became particularly trecherous

Authorities said the death toll in the storm had risen to 11 after a motorist was killed in the northwestern state of North-Rhine Westphalia when he crashed into a tree uprooted by the wind.

Another four people have died in the state died when they were hit by falling trees, including two firemen.

An 18-month-old baby died after being crushed by a door which was ripped off its hinges by high winds in Munich, in the southern state of Bavaria, while a 73-year-old man was killed in Augsburg after a barn door fell on him.

In the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, a man died when he was trapped under a collapsed wall in a restaurant. Three drivers were crushed by trees in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, in the central town of Hildesheim and in Strausberg, near Berlin.

Museums hit; flights disrupted

Several cultural buildings were damaged in the storm, including the church in the eastern town of Wittenberg where Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door in the 16th century.

A Cologne museum housing a priceless mosaic dating back to Roman times suffered damage and the wind blew the roof off an archive holding documents about the Nazis' victims at the site of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp outside Berlin. "Luckily there was little damage to the collection," the spokesman for the museum, Horst Seferens, said.

The storm brought chaos to airports across the country

After canceling hundreds of flights Thursday, air traffic was also returning to normal in Germany Friday.

Germany's national carrier Lufthansa said it had been forced to cancel 331 flights around Europe, affecting almost 19,000 passengers. The country's busiest airport, Frankfurt, said it had grounded 207 of its 1,300 daily flights Thursday.

Though European insurers say it's too early to calculate the cost of damages inflicted by the storm, early indications say the bill is expected to be massive.

The German insurance association, the GDV, said insuredstorm damage in the country could total around 1 billion euros($1.3 billion).

Germany's biggest insurer Allianz said it had set up 24-hourhotlines for its customers and that damage assessment teams wereworking throughout the country.

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March 2007