Storm Malik hits northern Europe hard; at least 4 dead

HELSINKI (AP) — A powerful winter storm swept through northern Europe over the weekend, killing at least four people, destroying homes and cars, closing bridges and causing flooding and disrupting transportation while leaving thousands of homes without electricity.

Storm Malik was advancing through the northern region on Sunday, bringing strong gusts of wind and heavy rain and snowfall to Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Malik reached the Nordic region and northern Germany on Saturday evening after leaving Britain where it caused property damage and transport chaos, hitting Scotland particularly hard.

In the UK, a 9-year-old boy in Staffordshire, England, and a 60-year-old woman in Scotland were killed by falling trees on Saturday as high winds battered northern Britain.

Wind gusts of over 100mph (160kph) have been reported in parts of Scotland, causing widespread disruption to transport and leaving tens of thousands of homes without power.

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon said while dozens of people have been reconnected to power, power outages will continue for many as another storm is due to hit the area on Sunday.

In Denmark, strong winds accompanied by heavy rain on Saturday caused the temporary closure of several bridges, including the main road and rail bridge in the Oeresund linking Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö.

Danish media reported that a 78-year-old woman died from serious injuries after falling in high winds. In neighboring Germany, local media reported that a man was killed on Saturday after being hit by a billboard that was loosened by the storm.

Floods in many parts of Denmark caused extensive material damage. Several traffic accidents caused by falling trees and flying debris have been reported to the police.

Regions in southern Sweden were also badly affected and thousands of homes were without power on Sunday afternoon. Ferries to the Baltic Sea island of Gotland have been canceled due to high winds.

Severe damage to homes, cars and boats, among others, has been reported in Norway while heavy snowfall across Finland has caused road accidents and disrupted bus and train traffic in some parts from the country.

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Sylvia Hui contributed to this report from London.

Jari Tanner, Associated Press

Mary I. Bruner