Saturday October 10th, 2015 8:41AM

Hurricane-force gusts slam UK; tidal surge looming

By The Associated Press
LONDON (AP) -- Hurricane-force gusts hit Britain on Thursday, halting trains, disrupting air travel and leaving tens of thousands of homes without electricity. Accidents linked to the storm killed two people.

Authorities evacuated some 10,000 homes along the eastern English coast after warning that the country could face its worst tidal surge in 60 years. The Thames Barrier - a series of huge metal plates that can be raised across the entire river - was being closed Thursday to protect London from the surge.

Rescue teams had to ferry residents to safety by boat in north Wales, while officials in other areas handed out sandbags and set up emergency shelters.

Transport troubles were reported throughout northwestern Europe as commuters raced home to ride out the storm.

Tidal floods - caused as the storm drives huge amounts of seawater toward the land - were expected in Britain, Germany and Scandinavia, together with freezing high winds from Greenland.

Some schools in the northern Netherlands closed early so children could get home safely to celebrate Sinterklaas - the traditional Dutch version of Christmas - with their families, national broadcaster NOS reported. In Denmark, the nation's largest department store, Magasin du Nord, closed three hours early so employees could get home.

The German Weather Service said the storm front, which was gathering strength as it headed eastward from the Atlantic Ocean off Greenland, would also bring polar air to Europe. Snow was expected in some low-lying areas.

The storm plowed into Scotland overnight, slamming the highlands with gusts up to 142 miles (229 kilometers) per hour. Train services were suspended for much of the day, but began to run fitfully later as some routes were cleared of debris.

Passengers on an easyJet flight from London to Glasgow, Scotland, wound up landing in Manchester after aborted attempts to land in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. As the plane neared Scotland, "suddenly everything started shaking and bumping, we were going up and down, up and down," said passenger Hazel Bedford.

"An awful lot of people were being sick but the plane, it was incredibly quiet. When cabin crew said `We're going to Manchester,' people started to realize this was serious," she said.

An accident west of Edinburgh claimed the life a truck driver and a falling tree killed a man in Nottinghamshire.

Other corners of Europe braced for the worst. Forecasters predicted winds gusting up to 87 mph (140 kph) along Germany's North Sea coast.

Ferry operators canceled services to some of Germany's North Sea islands and the country's national railway, Deutsche Bahn, warned of likely disruptions across a swathe of northern Germany.

German authorities reported flooding on the tiny low-lying North Sea islands of Langeness and Hooge near Denmark, the DPA news agency reported. Residents protected their homes with sandbags and other barriers against the rising waters, but none of the houses - all built on raised foundations - were thought to be in immediate danger.

Still, Langeness mayor Heike Hinrichsen warned if the seas rose as high as predicted, the "waves of the North Sea will be lapping at the houses."

"Nobody on the islands will be closing their eyes tonight," said Langeness resident Fiede Nissen. "It's already tense."

Almost all flights to and from Hamburg airport in northern Germany were canceled late Thursday.

The Netherlands braced for the storm by closing water barriers that protect the low-lying country from high tides. The Oosterscheldekering in the southwestern delta region was being closed to protect the land behind it for the first time since 2007.

Water authorities in the northern Dutch province of Friesland said they would patrol dikes in the evening to make sure any breeches or damages from the high tides are quickly repaired.

Dikes there are built to withstand water levels of 5 meters (nearly 16 1/2 feet) above normal. Thursday's tide was predicted to be around 3.3 meters (10 feet,) higher than normal, the authority said

National Dutch carrier KLM canceled dozens of flights to European airports as a precaution.

In Scandinavia, and Danish and Norwegian police urged people to stay indoors.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
UN is next stop for Obama after success with Iran, pope; top issues are IS, Syria, Russia
NEW YORK (AP) — Fresh from successes on Iran and with the pope, President Barack Obama still carried heavy burdens into critical meetings this week at the U.N. General Assembly.They include the threat...
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
Stunning Congress, House Speaker Boehner announces plans to resign; tea party declares victory
WASHINGTON (AP) — Plunging Congress into deeper turmoil, House Speaker John Boehner abruptly announced his resignation Friday, shutting down a tea party drive to depose the nation's highest-ranking Re...
6:14PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Tornado heavily damages 10 homes but causes no injuries on island in South Carolina
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — A tornado quickly blew through a neighborhood on the South Carolina coast early Friday and blew out windows, knocked down trees and heavily damaged ten homes.The tornado touc...
5:08PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Caterpillar says it may cut more than 10,000 jobs by 2018, lowers 2015 revenue expectation
Caterpillar is planning another round of job cuts that could exceed 10,000 people through 2018, as the construction and mining equipment maker adjusts to downturns in key markets.That could amount to...
10:06AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Escaped tarantula grounds Atlanta-bound flight in Baltimore
An eight-legged creature that escaped in the cargo hold of a passenger flight from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International grounded the plane and sent passengers onto another flight.
By The Associated Press
9:06AM ( 2 weeks ago )