1 MAY, 2018
BY RICHARD DAVIES
Stormy weather in parts of western Europe has caused flooding, wind damage and huge waves. At least 5 fatalities have been reported as a result of severe weather.
Germany, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the UK were affected by heavy rain, with hail, snow and strong winds in some areas between 29 April and 30 April.
Four climbers died and another five were injured after they were trapped overnight near Valais in the Swiss Alps during a storm.
A man died after being swept off a pier by strong waves in the southeast of England.
In Germany, the storm affected the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Lower Saxony, according to local media.
Emergency services in the city of Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, received 320 calls for assistance late on Sunday 29 April. Aachen recorded 63.3 mm or rain in 24 hours to 30 April, with most of the falling falling in a short space of time.
Police said the storm lasted around 70 minutes, damaging buildings and flooding basements and streets. Some roads were blocked and the Europatunnel tunnel had to be closed. No fatalities or injuries were reported.
In the Netherlands, heavy rain late on Sunday 29 April caused flash flooding in Limburg and Kerkrade. Some minor surface flooding was also reported in Tilburg, Rotterdam, Zaandam and Amsterdam, local media reported.
In Luxembourg, local media said that a total of 380 emergency calls were made late on 29 April, with emergency teams carrying out over 200 interventions, mainly in the south and centre of the country, for floods, trees and fallen objects on the road. The small town of Kopstal in central Luxembourg was particularly badly affected.
Heavy rain and strong winds affected central and eastern parts of Belgium from 29 to 30 April. Local media reported that the districts of Dinant and Philippeville were among the worst hit. There were over 50 calls to emergency services during the storm.
The city of Diest recorded 47 mm of rain in 12 hours to 30 April, just under the average for the whole of April.
In France, flooding was reported in Poix-Terron, Les Mazures and Vieilles-Forges in Ardennes department on 29 April. Around 20 houses were flooded in Les Mazures. Several buildings in affected areas suffered wind damage, according to reports.
In Normandy, flooding affected parts Seine-Maritime and Eure departments, where emergency services responded to around 150 calls. Roads in parts of Calvados department were also flooded. Caen, capital of the department, recorded 40.9 mm of rain in 24 hours to 30 April.
Further east, damage was reported to houses in Moselle department in Grand Est region, where emergency services received over 600 calls.
In the UK, areas of southeastern and eastern England were worst affected.
A man died after being swept out to sea in Ramsgate in Kent, southeast England. Officials said that 3 people were washed off a pier by a large wave. All three were recovered from the water, but one man was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The worst of the flooding was also reported in parts of Kent. The town of Lenham recorded 57.8mm of rain in 24 hours to 30 April, which is more than the monthly average. Three people were rescued by Kent Fire and Rescue Service after their car became stuck in flood water in Sutton Valence. Rescue teams also helped two drivers from separate cars which were trapped in flood water in Dover, and another in Aldington, a village near Ashford.
In London, the Thames broke its banks affecting small areas along the river in the west of the city. In north London, a flooded underpass in Walthamstow caused long delays for motorists.