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1 000s in UK face another day of flooding

06 December 2013, 21:00

London - Thousands of people in Britain face a second day of flooding Friday as the country confronts its worst tidal surge in 60 years after a powerful storm with hurricane-force gusts roared across northern Europe.

The storm prompted evacuations along the eastern English coast, with 1 000 properties flooded and at least half dozen communities at great risk of high tides and large waves. The Thames Barrier — a series of huge metal plates that can be raised across the entire river— closed for a second time in as many days to protect London from the surge.

"There will still be exceptionally high tides [Friday and Saturday]," Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said.

Accidents linked to the storm killed at least seven people across Europe over the past two days in Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Britain.

Traffic ground to a halt on icy highways and train service was canceled in large parts of Sweden. Tens of thousands of people lost electricity. Strong winds knocked down the city of Vaxjo's Christmas tree.

Scores of flights were canceled at airports in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Poland. More than 1,000 people spent the night at Copenhagen airport where 200 flights were cancelled on Thursday and about 70 on Friday.

Copenhagen's international airport reopened at 05:00 GMT after an all-night closure and flights resumed but delays were expected. Some bridges in Scandinavia remained closed and thousands of homes in Sweden and Norway were without power Friday morning.

Strong winds

Strong winds threatened a collection of Viking ships recovered from the bottom of a Danish fjord in the 1960s and put on exhibition amid strong winds funnelling water from the North Sea into inner Danish waters.

Museum workers boarded up the expansive windows of the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde 40km west of Copenhagen amid fears the water from the surrounding fjord would rise and shatter the glass.

In Hamburg, Germany's second-biggest city, the water rose about 4m above average flood levels on Friday, hitting heights rarely seen and parts of the city's busy port were shut.

Hamburg airport, where almost all flights were cancelled late on Thursday, was open for business on Friday but cautioned that there would be cancelations because of wind and snow. Trains northward from Hamburg to Denmark and some other destinations were cancelled.

Soccer club Werder Bremen, whose game Saturday against German champion Bayern Munich had been in doubt, announced on Twitter Friday morning that flood water hadn't topped a levee near its stadium and the match would go ahead.

- AP

Tags floods

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