At least 11 people have been killed by a storm that swept across Western Europe. Three people were killed in Belgium and the Netherlands, and at least eight people died in Germany as powerful winds ripped roofs off buildings, toppled trees, blew trucks off the road and forced the cancellation of train services and hundreds of flights.

Storm Friederike
Builders fix the side wall of a house after it was blown away by windstorms in De Meern, the Netherlands Robin van Lonkhuijsen/AFP

The Dutch national weather service recorded wind gusts of up to 140 kph (87 mph) in the southern port of Hook of Holland. Amsterdam's Schiphol airport briefly halted flights for an hour in the morning, and airline KLM scrapped more than 200 flights even before the storm arrived. Trains were halted across the nation and in Germany.

Falling trees killed two 62-year-old men in the Netherlands, a woman south of the Belgian capital of Brussels, a 59-year-old man camping in the German town of Emmerich and a firefighter in the German town of Bad Salzungen.

In Lippstadt, in western Germany, a driver died when he lost control of his van in strong winds and drove into oncoming traffic. In German's eastern state of Brandenburg, police said a gust of wind flipped a truck over a highway, killing the driver.

Police spokeswoman Jose Albers told Dutch national broadcaster NOS that authorities also were investigating whether the powerful gusts were to blame for the death of a 66-year-old man who fell through a plexiglass roof in the town of Vuren.

Traffic on Dutch roads was plunged into chaos, with the wind blowing over tractor trailers, toppling trees and hampering efforts to clean up the mess. In Amsterdam, authorities temporarily halted all trams and closed the city's zoo. Social media in the Netherlands was flooded with images of people being blown from their bicycles, cargo containers falling off a ship and damage to buildings, including a roof that peeled off an apartment block in Rotterdam.

Water authorities in the low-lying nation closed an inflatable storm barrier east of Amsterdam to prevent flooding as the storm pushed up water levels.

Before halting all trains, the Dutch rail service reported numerous incidents including a collision between a train and a trampoline. In neighbouring Belgium, the port of Ghent closed down because of the high winds and tram traffic was halted in parts of Brussels.

In Germany, police reported several injuries as well as the four deaths and the national railway company suspended long-distance trains across the country as train tracks were littered with fallen trees. Deutsche Bahn's announcement came hours after all trains in two of Germany's populous western areas, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, were halted.

In western Germany, some 100,000 people were left without electricity and schools closed down. The square in front of Cologne's famous Cathedral was partially cordoned off amid fears that masonry could be blown loose. A supermarket roof peeled off in Menden. The storm toppled a crane in Kirtorf, central Germany.

Storm Friederike had been known as Storm Fionn in Britain, where it dumped huge amounts on snow on parts of Scotland and cut power to thousands of homes.

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