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Storms Flip Airplanes, Flood Homes

Sat., Jan. 28, 1995

Furious winds flipped planes and flung trees, while heavy rains flooded homes and blocked trains Friday as freakish weather lashed Europe. More bad news was forecast.

At least 16 people have been killed in a week of storms that have flooded thousands of homes. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Netherlands have been the hardest hit.

Gusts up to 130 mph ripped across Switzerland, where streets and highways throughout the country were blocked by fallen trees. The temperature in Lucerne plunged by 18 degrees in one 15-minute period.

Officials in Zurich estimated millions in damage at the airport alone as fierce winds pushed parked airplanes along the tarmac. The planes crashed into each other or flipped over.

In Austria, Germany and Belgium, strong winds ripped off roofs and knocked down trees over widespread areas. Winds of up to 100 mph hit southern Germany, blocking roads with fallen trees.

Two men were killed near Cham in northern Bavaria when their car skidded off an icy road, and another German man was killed when he was hit by a falling tree while driving in neighboring Austria.

The Main, Rhine and Mosel rivers and their tributaries continued to flood in Germany. In Frankfurt, the Main poured muddy water onto low-lying streets near city hall and the Intercontinental Hotel. Miltenberg, Worth and other towns along the Main in Bavaria were also flooded.

Barge traffic on the rivers was shut down as the Rhine rose toward the 32.5-foot level that would flood Cologne’s historic Old Town district.

In Koblenz, where the Mosel flows into the Rhine, about 7,000 people were trapped by water surrounding their homes. Rescuers used boats to get them out, but police said many elderly residents refused to go and simply moved upstairs.

Tags: disaster

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