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Powerful storm kills 13 in Europe

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By The Associated Press
Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, 9:51 p.m.

LONDON — A savage coastal storm powered by hurricane-force gusts slashed its way through Britain and western Europe on Monday, felling trees, flooding lowlands and snarling traffic in the air, at sea and on land. At least 13 people were reported killed.

It was one of the worst storms to hit the region in years. The deadly tempest had no formal name — and wasn't officially classified as a hurricane due to a meteorological standard — but it was dubbed the St. Jude storm (after the patron saint of lost causes) and stormageddon on social networks.

Gusts of 99 miles per hour were reported on the Isle of Wight in southern England, while gusts up to 80 mph hit the British mainland. Later in the day, the Danish capital of Copenhagen experienced record gusts up of to 120 mph, and an autobahn in central Germany was shut down by gusts up to 62 mph.

All across the region, people were warned to stay indoors. Hundreds of trees were uprooted or split, blocking roads and crushing cars. The Dutch were told to leave their bicycles at home for safety's sake.

At least 13 storm-related deaths were reported, most victims crushed by falling trees. Germany had six deaths, Britain had five, and the Netherlands and Denmark had one each. One woman was missing from being swept into the surf in France.

Two people were killed in London by a gas explosion, and a British teen who played in the storm-driven surf was swept out to sea. A man in Denmark was killed when a brick flew off and hit him in the head.

Despite the strength of its gusts, the storm was not considered a hurricane because it didn't form over warm expanses of open ocean like the hurricanes that batter the Caribbean and the United States. Britain's national weather service, the Met Office, said Britain does not get hurricanes because those are “warm latitude” storms that draw their energy from seas far warmer than the North Atlantic. Monday's storm also did not have an “eye” at its center like most hurricanes.

London's Heathrow Airport, Europe's busiest, canceled at least 130 flights and giant waves prompted the major English port of Dover to close, cutting off ferry services to France.

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