Hurricane-Force Winds Kill Seven in Europe

Hurricane-force winds smashed parts of the UK, France, the Netherlands and Germany today The storm cut off power, caused floods and killed seven people.

Gusts up to 99 mph were reported on the UK's Isle of Wight, with speeds lowering to a still-terrifying 80 mph upon reaching the southern part of the mainland. Flood alerts have been issued, Heathrow Airport has cancelled 130 flights, and the port of Dover (which hosts ferries to France) is closed. Infrastructure isn't safe, either: rail lines have closed, a nuclear power plant has shut down two reactors due to debris, a building near the prime minister's office has collapsed, and officials estimate that up to 270,000 homes are without power.

Railway closings and power outages have also been reported in France and the Netherlands. Dutch citizens have also been advised to avoid riding bicycles for fear that the wind may knock them over. Even a section of Germany's Autobahn has closed.

Although the winds are hurricane-level, affected individuals can't even say they've officially weathered a hurricane: according to the British weather service, the storm doesn't have the central eye typical of hurricanes. It also formed too far north to be classified as a real hurricane.

Then again, "I survived some really strong winds" doesn't sound very good on a t-shirt.

[image via AP]