Hurricane Xaver batters Scotland as Germany braces for storm

Hurricane Xaver batters Scotland as Germany braces for storm
Waves batter the sea wall in Blackpool, north west England.

BERLIN/LONDON - Hurricane-force winds disrupted transport and power supplies in Scotland and threatened coastal flooding in England as they closed on northern Europe in what meteorologists said could be one of the most powerful storms to hit the continent in years.

British authorities announced the Thames Barrier, designed to protect London from flooding during exceptional tides, would close on Thursday night and warned of "the most serious coastal tidal surge for over 60 years in England".

Prime Minister David Cameron called a meeting to discuss strategy.

One person was killed as winds of up to 225 km per hour (140 mph) slammed into parts of the Scottish highlands, Britain's weather office said. More than 80,000 homes were left without power, according to energy company SSE.

That number was expected to rise with road connections blocked by fallen trees and debris.

A lorry driver was killed and four people injured when his vehicle overturned and collided with other vehicles in West Lothian, police said.

All train services in Scotland were suspended shortly after 8 a.m. local time until further notice due to debris on the tracks caused by storm Xaver.

Glasgow's Central Station was evacuated after part of a glass roof collapsed, ScotRail said.

Low-lying coastal areas in eastern England were particularly vulnerable to a predicted tidal surge. Sea defences have been built up considerably since storms and flooding killed hundreds on the North Sea coast in 1953.

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