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Floods and snow hit Northwest Europe after latest Atlantic storm

Floods and snow hit Northwest Europe after latest Atlantic storm
Members of French Civil Security rescue team evacuate local residents by boat as the Aa River overflows in Arques near Saint-Omer, after heavy rain caused flooding in northern France, Jan 3, 2024.
PHOTO: Reuters

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ARQUES, France — Parts of northwestern Europe struggled on Wednesday (Jan 3) to cope with the impact of the latest in a series of Atlantic storms which dumped rain or snow on already saturated ground, while northern Scandinavia experienced extreme cold.

In northern France, rescue crews helped evacuate residents from inundated homes in the town of Arques in the Pas de Calais department, a region that had flooded for the second time in two months after heavy rainfall.

Another 20 to 40 millimetres of rain was expected within hours, and a red alert indicated that the river Aa was close to breaking its banks.

"The first time, you think it's had luck, but the second time, it starts to hit your morale and your wallet," said Arques resident Anthony Richevin as he was being evacuated. "You start wondering about the future."

There are no large-scale evacuations planned in the region for the time being, Van Cauter added.

A ferry travelling from Norway to Denmark with about 900 passengers aboard was unable to dock in Copenhagen because of the storm and was waiting for the wind to drop although that may not happen before Thursday morning, shipping company DFDS said.

In Norway, the southern town of Kristiansand said it had closed its schools and cancelled all public buses following heavy snowfall.

The same storm, labelled Henk on either side of the North Sea, brought gales and heavy rain to parts of England and Wales on Tuesday, causing power outages, disrupting train travel and forcing the closure of major roads because of flooding.

Trees were blown onto roads and rail tracks, killing one motorist in southwestern England.

A 59-year-old woman died in Belgium's East Flanders province on Tuesday after being hit by a blown-away fence during a period of heavy rainfall in the country, local governor Carina Van Cauter said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Arctic village of Kvikkjokk recorded an overnight temperature of -43.6 degrees Celsius, Sweden's coldest for the month of January in 25 years, the Swedish Met Office said.

In Lapland in northern Finland, a woman went missing in a blizzard while out skiing on Tuesday and was later found dead in an avalanche. A search was continuing on Wednesday for her child, Finnish police said.

ALSO READ: Relentless rains wreak havoc across Australia's east


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