Hurricane Xaver bears down on northern Germany after battering Scotland



This photo shows stored containers at the HHLA (Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG) container terminal at the harbor of the northern German city of Hamburg. German firms are at their most confident since the spectacular collapse of US banking giant Lehman Brothers in Sept. 2008 and the subsequent global recession.


Roland Magunia

Germans are preparing for Hurricane Xaver, expected to blow through its northern states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Bremen on Thursday and Friday.

Meteorologists said the storm may be one of the most powerful to hit the European continent in years.

In Britain, residents braced for what could be the worst tidal surge in 60 years.

“Xaver has developed into hurricane force and it’ll be quite dangerous along the North Sea shore,” Andreas Friedrich, a German weather service meteorologist, said. “The truly dangerous thing about this storm is that the winds will continue for hours and won’t let up. The danger of coastal flooding is high.”

Schools and Christmas markets have been closed in the north, and people were being advised to be stay indoors to avoid falling trees. Dozens of flights to Hamburg have been canceled.

Britain’s Environment Agency said tidal surges caused by Xaver could flood as many as 6,000 British homes. The Thames Barrier was being closed Thursday to protect London. Towns in Germany, Denmark and Belgium were also expecting flooding from tidal surges.

Xaver killed a truck driver in Scotland and knocked out power for more than 80,000 homes in Scotland and 7,000 homes in Northern Ireland as its winds of up to 142 miles per hour moved through the northern United Kingdom overnight.

ScotRail suspended all train service and evacuated Glasgow's Central Station after part of its glass roof collapsed.