By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
AMSTERDAM (Worthy News) – The Netherlands and Germany were hammered by a record-breaking summer storm killing two people and plunging international air and rail travel into chaos.
Howling winds of up to 146 kilometers per hour (90 miles per hour) battered the Netherlands as Storm Poly crashed into the North Sea coast, downing trees and damaging buildings in a nation where millions reside behind dykes below sea level.
Dutch meteorologists said the storm was the strongest on record to hit the Netherlands in the summer months and issued a rare “code red” warning people in the low-lying nation to stay indoors.
“I was very concerned about the storm,” Aafje van Kampen told Worthy News. The 82-year-old woman, an artist, still recalls a violent North Sea storm on the night of January 31 to February 1, 1953, that killed more than 1,836 Dutch people.
Her town of Noordwijk is close to the sea, and residents worry about flooding or falling trees.
In nearby Haarlem, a 51-year-old woman was killed when a tree fell on her car in the Dutch city of Haarlem, while a 64-year-old woman died after being struck by a falling tree in the German town of Rhede near the Dutch border, police said.
Two men were seriously injured in Amsterdam, one when a tree fell on his car, while a second was believed to have been hit by tumbling power lines, officials said.
Elsewhere frightened passengers arrived at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, one of Europe’s busiest aviation hubs, where some 400 flights were canceled.
“Everybody was throwing up as we entered heavy turbulence before landing,” one of them recalled.
Hundreds of travelers were also stranded at Amsterdam’s central station by Storm Poly.
Eurostar trains from Amsterdam to London and high-speed rail services to the German cities of Cologne and Hamburg were called off, while many domestic trains were canceled, Dutch train operator NS said.
“They told me all the trains were canceled. We’re going on a bus now to Brussels that’s going to get there at 2 am,” said British student Abby Scott, 18, hiding in the Central Station.
“I’m supposed to go to a party tonight — I think I might just walk to The Hague,” joked Ariane Gentile, 64, a school teacher, to reporters.
Raging winds destroyed the country, with an entire row of trees falling on houses in the street in Haarlem, beach houses, and even a school damaged in northern provinces.
In Germany, some ferries to islands just off the North Sea coast were canceled.
Additionally, trees fell on a railway line between the city of Emden and the town of Leer, authorities said.
A line between the German city of Hamburg and Sylt, a famous vacation island, was also shut between the towns of Husum and Niebuell.
Yet, with the wind somewhat easing, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport expressed hope that more planes could take off and land but warned that disruptions would continue.
“Together with airlines, we are trying to get as many travelers as possible to their destinations today,” Schiphol said.
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