Storms kill three in Poland as strong winds pummel central Europe

Video footage shows a 30m crane tower being toppled by the severe weather in Krakow

Thomas Kingsley
Friday 18 February 2022 10:46
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Violent storms have wrought havoc across Poland, reportedly killing at least three people and leaving hundreds of thousands of households without power.

The extreme weather struck Poland on Wednesday and Thursday, ripping through buildings and damaging cars.

Footage shared online shows a 30m crane tower being toppled by strong winds in Krakow, an incident which killed two construction workers and injured four others, according to Polish police.

Local media also reported that a 70-year-old man died when a tree fell on his vehicle in the western Lubuskie province.

Severe storms have lashed central Europe this week, with falling trees also causing a casualty in Germany, and the UK is bracing for Storm Eunice, which is expected to bring winds of up to 100mph and could be the country’s worst in three decades.

In Poland, the National Fire Brigade described the destruction in the central town of Dobrzyca as “really massive” and said that firefighters were trying to take control of the situation.

A local fire brigade spokesperson from Pleszew County, where Dobrzyca lies, said 50 homes had been damaged county-wide by the storm, which struck at around 5 a.m.

“But also in the (central) Lodzkie and Mazowieckie provinces, there are several, over a dozen, damaged buildings,” the national spokesperson added. “However, the most difficult situation is in Pleszew County in the Wielkopolskie province.”

According to the Government Security Centre, as of Thursday morning at least 324,00 homes and businesses had lost power nationally.

Poland's meteorology directorate warned that winds could exceed 62mph in some regions.

It comes as German national railway company Deutsche Bahn said it has stopped long-distance train services in seven out of the country's 16 states after Storm Ylenia slammed northern Germany in the early hours of Thursday morning.

By Thursday afternoon, gale-force winds had caused one casualty, who died in a car after a tree collapsed on to a country road near the town of Bad Bevensen in Lower Saxony, local police said.

The storms also caused a spate of power cuts across the country. According to the Stoerungsauskunft website that partners with German energy suppliers to collect data about current outages, more than 170 towns and cities were affected.

In Germany's most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the power cuts affected around 50,000 households according to a statement on the official website of the region's Borken district.

A firefighter stands next to a falling tree at a road in Wilkenburg near Hannover, Germany,

The UK is also facing its most intense storm weather in years as Storm Eunice sweeps the nation. A rare red warning has been issued across southern England and London from the Met Office - indicating a “danger to life” is imminent.

Winds up to 100mph could “sweep people off streets” when Storm Eunice hits, an expert has said as army is on standby to assist and widespread school closures have been announced in Wales and Devon.

The storm is expected to bring blizzard conditions further north, and will hit just days after Storm Dudley saw winds and rain sweep across Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland, knocking out power for tens of thousands of people and bringing trains to a standstill.

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