(Amsterdam) Northern Europe was pounded by an unusually strong cyclonic storm Thursday that killed at least three people, forced changes in the schedule of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and adversely affceted transportaion in the air, on land and at sea.
Gale-force winds and heavy rains hit the Netherlands on Thursday, forcing travel warnings, school closings, and flight cancellations in what is expected to be the worst storm in decades. The powerful storm - dubbed "Kyrill" or "Cyril" depending on the language of the news source - is expected to bring winds of up to 112 mph in high and exposed areas of Germany today.
In Vienna authorities warned that the storm was forecast to hit the Austrian capital by Friday night, with winds of up to 90 mph, which is strong enough to uproot trees.
Winds over 80 mph swept through much of England, Wales and Northern Ireland Wednesday night, while Scotland recorded the its major snowfall of 2007 in the Highlands.
Recent weather patterns around the globe have certainly been atypical in the past few years, and Storm Kyrill will serve to fan the flames of debate about the meaning of changes in the Earth's temperature and weather.