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Europe hit by extreme cold causing floods in Germany and power cuts in Nordic countries

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Thousands of people have been left without electricity in the Nordic countries as extreme cold hits the region and much of Western Europe, causing floods in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Thousands of people in the Nordic countries remained without electricity on Thursday as gusty winds and snow wreaked havoc across the region, leaving many motorists stranded in their cars on dangerous and clogged highways.

Finland and Sweden recorded temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius earlier this week, the coldest of the winter, forcing school closures and causing travel disruptions.

In Arctic Sweden, around 4,000 homes remained in the dark on Thursday as temperatures dropped to -38 degrees Celsius, according to Swedish Public Radio.

The day before, the mercury had fallen to -43.6 degrees Celsius, the lowest January temperature recorded in Sweden for 25 years.

The municipality of Enontekio in Finnish Lapland, near the border with Norway and Sweden, recorded a record temperature of -42.5 degrees Celsius on Thursday.

Denmark and Norway, both hit by wind and snow, were also similarly affected. Hundreds of passengers aboard the ferry en route between Oslo and Copenhagen have finally arrived in the Danish capital after spending a night on board the vessel which remained stranded in the Øresund Strait due to the storm.

The extreme cold that has hit the Scandinavian region is part of a storm that has also hit Western Europe. Heavy rains have caused flooding in France, Germany and the Netherlands, adding to ongoing flooding in these regions over the past two weeks.

One death related to bad weather was reported in France. Several cities in northern France were submerged on Thursday after several days of rain. Government officials are scheduled to visit the area today.

In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Thursday he plans to make his second visit this week to inspect a dam and sandbag filling plant in the eastern town of Sangerhausen.

Residents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also felt bitter cold.

The cold wave from Siberia and the Arctic region has also spilled over into western Russia, with temperatures in Moscow and other areas plummeting to minus 30 degrees Celsius, well below the average temperature in early January.

Authorities in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other areas have issued orange weather alerts, warning residents of possible health risks.

Storms in England

Mild but wet and windy conditions prevailed further south, where a storm wreaked havoc in parts of Western Europe.

In Britain, a motorist died after a tree fell on his car in western England. Gloucestershire Police said the man died in the crash near the town of Kemble on Tuesday afternoon.

The storm, which was named Henk by the official weather services of Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, caused power cuts, transport problems, property damage and disruption across the UK.

More than 300 flood warnings were issued across England and Wales on Wednesday, while 10,000 homes remained without electricity.

The UK’s rail network has been hit by flooding and power cuts, with many operators reporting ongoing problems for the commute to work on Wednesday morning.

The strongest storms in the UK were recorded on the Isle of Wight, just off the coast in southern England, where wind speeds reached 151 kilometers per hour.

ANNOUNCEMENT

In the Netherlands, police near the city of Eindhoven said strong winds may have played a role in the death of a 75-year-old man who fell from his bicycle Tuesday evening as strong winds lashed much of the country.

The water flowed into the already swollen Maas River near the city of Maastricht. As a precaution, the owners of several houseboats were evacuated.

In France, heavy rains have hit the northern regions of Pas-de-Calais and Nord since Sunday, forcing the evacuation of around 200 people and cutting electricity to 10,000 families, according to local authorities.

Hundreds of emergency workers from across France mobilized to rescue people from flooded homes and clear the streets, while reinforcements of personnel and equipment arrived from the already drenched Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Netherlands.

The national weather service maintained a flood and wind warning on Thursday in several regions of northern France and on the borders with Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, with forecasts of further rain and winds of up to 100 km/h.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Parts of Germany are also grappling with flooding, which could be worsened by further rainfall in Lower Saxony, the worst-hit northwestern state.

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