At least two killed as winter storm hits Netherlands

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-18 22:31:08|Editor: yan
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THE HAGUE, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- At least two people were killed as winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour battered the Netherlands on Thursday.

Police in the Dutch province of Overijssel reported that a 62-year-old man died after he was hit by a fallen tree in the city of Enschede.

Local police also stated that a 66-year-old man died after falling through a plexiglass construction in the village of Vuren in the province of Gelderland. The police are now investigating if the death has something to do with the storm.

"With much sadness, I heard of the news that the storm caused casualties," said Minister of Internal Affairs Kajsa Ollongren. "I wish the relatives a lot of strength. Respect for emergency workers and everyone who helped each other."

The Royal Netherlands Meteorogical Institute (KNMI) issued a Code Red weather warning at around 9 a.m. local time. At 2 p.m., the Code Red only continued for the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland as the wind moved from the west of the country to the east and on to Germany. At 3 p.m. the storm was over and the KNMI stopped the Code Red for the whole country.

The storm has caused chaos on the roads, with tilted trucks, fallen trees and several accidents. People had difficulties to stay on their bikes, and on social media one could even see people lifted for a few meters by the wind.

In Rotterdam, the storm blew the roof of a block of houses. A total of 32 homes were evacuated. Due to flying objects, the police closed the area around Almere Center train station for several hours.

The westerly storm also caused delays and cancelations at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. At around 11 a.m., the weather conditions even led to a suspension of all air traffic at Schiphol for one hour. After that, flight traffic gradually restarted.

During the same time, the Dutch railways NS also halted all train traffic due to the storm.