All flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport were cancelled due to a severe storm, as gusts of up to 140km/h blew down trees and damaged buildings.
Nationwide, trains, trams and buses were halted after the highest weather alert was issued for large parts of the country.
At least 260 flights were scrapped at Schiphol.
“Due to severe weather conditions: all air traffic has been suspended until further notice,” the airport tweeted.
At least three people were wounded when ceiling panels came down at the entrance of the departure halls at Schiphol due to the strong winds.
Videos posted on social media showed pedestrians being swept off their feet by gusts in the city of Den Bosch, while other footage showed extensive damage to properties in the west and centre of the Netherlands.
— Marco (@tensioncoach) January 18, 2018
National broadcaster NOS reported that the main railway station in The Hague was closed because of fears that parts of its new glass roof would be blown off, while large stacks of containers in the port of Rotterdam came down in the storm.
— RichardHoogeveen.nl (@RichardMaasdijk) January 18, 2018
By midday on Thursday, at least 25 lorries were tipped over by wind gusts on highways, Dutch traffic control agency VID reported.
— VID (@vid) January 18, 2018
Police said thousands of calls were received from people reporting damage across the country.
— Johan Boef (@jboef) January 18, 2018
— Ivo Evers (@IvoEvers) January 18, 2018
The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute issued a Code Red, the most severe weather warning, for large parts of the country and said wind gusts reached 140km/h in the southern port of Hoek of Holland.
UK, Belgium and Germany
Gale-force winds have also been recorded in Britain, where thousands of homes in southeast England have been left without electricity.
The wind has damaged some of the overhead power lines that supply trains and brought trees crashing onto the tracks, causing severe delays for thousands of commuters. Some service to London’s King’s Cross station has been disrupted.
Driving conditions in parts of Scotland are extremely hazardous, with officials advising motorists to stay off the roads because of blustery winds, heavy snow and icy conditions.
In Belgium, the port of Ghent was closed because of the high winds. In Germany schools remain closed in many parts of the country as the storm was expected to come in from the west and bring heavy snow, rain and gusty winds.
Authorities warned Germans, especially in west and north of the country, to not leave their homes on Thursday if possible.