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Planes, trains cancelled in France as Storm Ciara sweeps Western Europe

Body boarders ride the stormy waves at Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Britain as Storm Ciara approaches the Welsh coastline, February 8, 2020.
Body boarders ride the stormy waves at Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Britain as Storm Ciara approaches the Welsh coastline, February 8, 2020. REUTERS/Rebecca Naden
2 min

Some 60 flights in and out of Brussels were cancelled Sunday and 35 French departments put on orange alert as storm Ciara brought howling winds and rain to Western Europe.

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 Affected regions will include Normandy, the Ardennes and Lorraine. In the Vosges, winds could hit speeds of 140 km/h.

In the Champagne region and Brittany, gusts could reach 110 km/h, according to forecaster Meteo France.

The storm could make tough going for the rugby match in northern Paris between hosts France and visitors Italy at 1600 GMT at the Stade de France, part of the Six Nations annual tournament.

In Belgium, the Royal Meteorological Institute issued an alert for Sunday of winds reaching 130 km/h, or more, with the risk of property damage nationwide.

Some sixty flights departing or arriving at Brussels Airport have been cancelled as a precaution, according to an airport spokesman, who said further delays were possible.

 In Brussels, woods and parks will be closed Sunday and Monday.

The Belgium football league has announced postponements for championship matches that had been scheduled for Sunday.

Dutch Football Association (KNVB) announced that Sunday's four top-flight matches had been postponed.
   

Britain's Network Rail advised travellers to avoid taking the train unless "absolutely necessary," with the powerful storm expected to disrupt air, rail and sea links in both Britain and Ireland.

"Storm Ciara is expected to bring delays and cancellations to air, ferry and train services; damage to buildings and a good chance of power cuts," Britain's Met Office said.

Ireland's Met Eireann meteorological service warned of "a significant risk of coastal flooding – especially along western and north-western coasts", while a European capital of culture event was cancelled in the western city of Galway.

High waves in the Irish Sea forced ferry companies to cancel several trips, while a 10-kilometre run in London that was expected to draw 25,000 runners was also cancelled.

Ciara will also hit Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and northern France – where  Affected wind speeds of up to 140km/h are forecast in Normandy, the Ardennes and Lorraine.

- With wires

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