Thousands of people in Britain face a second day of flooding on Friday as the country confronts its worst tidal surge in 60 years after a powerful storm with hurricane-force gusts roared across northern Europe.
The storm prompted evacuations along the eastern English coast, with 1,000 properties flooded and at least half dozen communities at great risk of high tides and large waves. The Thames Barrier — a series of huge metal plates that can be raised across the entire river — was closed for a second time in as many days to protect London from the surge.
“There will still be exceptionally high tides” on Friday and Saturday, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said.
Accidents linked to the storm killed at least seven people across Europe over the past two days in Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Britain.
Traffic ground to a halt on icy highways and train service was cancelled in large parts of Sweden. Tens of thousands of people lost electricity. Strong winds knocked down the city of Vaxjo’s Christmas tree.
Scores of flights were cancelled at airports in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Poland. More than 1,000 people spent the night at Copenhagen airport where 200 flights were cancelled on Thursday and about 70 on Friday.
Copenhagen’s international airport reopened at 0500 GMT after an all-night closure and flights resumed but delays were expected. Some bridges in Scandinavia remained closed and thousands of homes in Sweden and Norway were without power on Friday morning.
Strong winds threatened a collection of Viking ships recovered from the bottom of a Danish fjord in the 1960s and put on exhibition. Museum workers boarded up the expansive windows of the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde 25 miles (40 km) west of Copenhagen amid fears the water from the surrounding fjord would rise and shatter the glass.
In Hamburg, Germany’s second-biggest city, the water rose about 13 feet (4m) above average flood levels on Friday, hitting heights rarely seen and parts of the city’s busy port were shut.
Soccer club Werder Bremen, whose game Saturday against German champion Bayern Munich had been in doubt, announced on Twitter on Friday morning that flood water hadn’t topped a levee near its stadium and the match would go ahead.