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Deadly Storm Dirk Hits U.K. and France: Major Travel Headaches (PHOTOS)

Associated Press
Published: December 25, 2013

LONDON — A severe winter storm caused major travel problems in parts of western Europe Tuesday, stranding passengers travelling for Christmas at Paris and London airports and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes without power.

The storm caused four deaths in Britain, including a man who jumped into a fast-flowing river to try and rescue his dog. The severe weather also left a 12-year-old boy crushed to death beneath construction materials in Normandy, France.

In Britain, thousands of people trying to get away for the holidays were affected by reduced or cancelled train services due to landslides and fallen trees and flooded roads. Power outages at London Gatwick Airport's North Terminal caused 26 cancellations and many more delays.

The airport, the country's second-largest, said the problems were caused by flooding from a nearby river triggered by heavy rains.

The storm unleashed powerful winds. London's Heathrow airport recorded a 60 mph gust overnight, while winds gusted to 54 mph at Gatwick; Southampton saw a 69 mph gust Monday.

Across the English Channel, nearly all long-haul flights out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport were delayed because of the storm, according to the Paris airport authority website.

Electricity provider ERDF said the winds left nearly 200,000 homes in western France without electricity.

(MORE: Check Our Flight Tracker Before You Take Off)

The Energy Networks Association, which represents power companies across the U.K., said 150,000 homes were without power, mainly in the south of England.

Power supplier Southern Electric said some may not get electricity back in time for Christmas Day.

The Environment Agency issued hundreds of flood warnings across all of England and Wales, with a severe flood warning — the highest level, warning of danger to life — in southwest England.

Two people died in car accidents, and one woman's body was pulled from a river in north Wales.

In Spain, extremely strong winds battered the northwestern Galicia region, and a tree that fell down on rail tracks prompted the derailment of a commuter train. None of the 10 passengers or the crew members were injured.

Nice, France

Nice, France

A young person runs in front of a giant wave on December 25, 2013 in Nice, southeastern France. (VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nice, France
  • Nice, France
  • Nice, France
  • Quimperle, France
  • Quimperle, France
  • Dorking, England
  • Dorking, England
  • Leatherhead, England
  • Saltcoats, Scotland
  • MODIS Imagery of UK Storm
  • London Gatwick Airport in Horley, England
  • Reigate, England
  • Reigate, England
  • Croydon, south London
  • Guengat, France

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