Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Hurricane-force winds pound UK and Europe, upend travel

Published:Monday | February 10, 2020 | 9:07 AM
Waves lash the coast on the Ayrshire coast at Ardrossan, Scotland, Sunday, February 9, 2020. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Storm Ciara battered the United Kingdom and northern Europe with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains Sunday, halting flights and trains and producing heaving seas that closed down ports.

Soccer games, farmers’ markets and cultural events were cancelled as authorities urged millions of people to stay indoors, away from falling tree branches.

The storm, named by the UK’s Met Office weather agency, brought gales across the country and delivered gusts of 97 miles per hour to the Isle of Wight and 93 miles per hour to the village of Aberdaron in northern Wales.

Propelled by the fierce winds, a British Airways plane was thought to have made the fastest New York-to-London flight by a conventional airliner.

The Boeing 747-436 completed the 3,500-mile transatlantic journey in 4 hours and 56 minutes, landing 102 minutes early and reaching a top speed of 825 miles per hour, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.

Two Virgin Airlines flights also roared across the Atlantic, with all three smashing the previous subsonic New York-to-London record of 5 hours and 13 minutes, Flightradar24 reported.

Storm surges ate away at beaches and pounded rock cliffs and cement docks.

The Met Office issued more than 250 flood warnings, and public safety agencies urged people to avoid travel and the temptation to take selfies as floodwaters rose.

Residents in the town of Appleby-in-Westmorland in northwest England battled to protect their homes amid severe flooding as the River Eden burst its banks.

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