Bomb cyclone Storm Ciarán kills 14 as it slams Europe with hurricane-force winds, extreme flooding

At least 14 are dead after wind gusts reached 129 mph in France and flash flooding was reported in Italy. Storm Ciarán explosively developed through the day Wednesday, tapping into a robust jet stream that stretched from New England across the North Atlantic Ocean.

PARIS Ferocious bomb cyclone Storm Ciarán slammed parts much of Europe Thursday with hurricane-force winds topping 100 mph in several locations, leaving at least 14 dead and over a million power outages across the European continent.

Reuters reported a truck driver died just outside of Paris when a tree fell into his vehicle, while another died in Le Havre. According to the Associated Press, police said one person in Albania was killed on Friday when he lost control while driving his car.

Across the Adriatic Sea into Italy, at least six people died after floodwaters quickly rose in the Tuscany region.

The storm left at least 16 others injured in France, according to Gerald Darmanin, France's Minister of the Interior. One of the injuries was reported as serious, while the other 15 were minor injuries, Darmanin posted. Seven of the injured were firefighters, officials said.

Damaging wind gusts even reached other nearby nations, where five others died in storm-related deaths, including two in Belgium and one each in Spain and the Netherlands, Reuters reported. Another death was reported in Germany.

Wildfire in eastern Spain forces hundreds to evacuate due to strong winds

A wildfire, fueled by winds from Ciarán, has ravaged nearly 5,000 acres of land in eastern Spain, leading to the evacuation of 850 people from four towns. 

The fire started on Thursday, and about 200 firefighters, along with an army emergency unit of soldiers, were deployed on Friday to tackle the blaze.

Unfortunately, the heavy rain and gale-force winds from Ciarán did not aid in the efforts to prevent the wildfire.

Deadly flash flooding unfolds in northern and central Italy

At least six people died in Italy after floodwaters quickly rose in the Tuscany region, according to Italian officials. Video showed cars being carried through the streets by the fast-moving water before midnight local time as nearly 8 inches of rain fell in the region.

"We have just sent inflatable boats to Seano, Quarrata and Campi Bisenzio, we have also asked the National Civil Protection for helicopters for the urgent transport of people in code red," Eugenio Giani, the president of Tuscany, posted on X. 

Meanwhile, Reuters reports two died when a bridge collapsed near the city of Pistoia, while two elderly victims died in Montemurlo, and a fifth person died in the town of Rosignano.

Matteo Biffoni, the mayor of Prato, said the situation was extremely critical and encouraged residents in the region to find higher ground and not to venture outside their homes during the storm.

Firefighters said they responded to over 100 calls and performed dozens of rescues with many drivers who were caught off guard by the fast-moving water. Four people were rescued after they were trapped in their vehicles when the Tagliamento River flooded, according to Vigili del Fuoco.

The local government proactively closed schools, parks, sporting venues and other facilities ahead of the extreme weather.


Deadly impacts felt across Europe

Ciarán explosively developed through the day Wednesday, tapping into a robust jet stream that stretched from New England across the North Atlantic Ocean. The storm’s central pressure dropped from 989 millibars Tuesday night to 953 millibars just 24 hours later by Wednesday night, easily reaching the criteria for a bomb cyclone as the center of the storm swept through the English Channel Thursday. The 953.3-millibar reading in Plymouth Thursday set a national record for lowest atmospheric pressure measured in England in November.

With Ciarán’s destructive pressure gradient focused on its southern side, southern England and northern France took the brunt of the wrath. Pointe du Raz, France, recorded a gust of 129 mph, while Ile de Batz hit 121 mph, according to Meteo France. Gusts reached 118 mph in Brignogan, 101 mph in Saint-Segal and 96 mph in Brest.


Several homes in Brest were evacuated after a crane toppled, Darmanin reported. 

He added Ciarán has left a trail of impassable roads and uprooted trees across Finisterre, Cotes d'Armor and Manache, which took the brunt of the triple-digit wind gusts.  

France’s Minister of Transport, Clement Beaune, said on X that airports in Brest and Quimper remained closed Thursday morning and urged people to stay off the roads and work from home if possible.


About 1.2 million people in France had lost power so far in the storm, according to France's energy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher.  Tens of thousands were without cell service. 

Darmanin reported firefighters across France have responded to over 10,000 calls for storm assistance since Wednesday.

Ciarán did not spare the British Islands in the English Channel either, with a peak gust of 93 mph recorded at the airport in Jersey, while Guernsey reached 78 mph, according to the U.K. Met Office. On England's mainland, Falmouth hit a gust of 90 mph, while Langdon Bay near Dover recorded a gust of 71 mph. 

In England's Dorset, heavy rain left floodwaters more than a foot deep at a group of holiday chalets at Freshwater Beach Holiday Park. Photos from the scene showed several members of rescue teams wading in knee-deep waters to bring flooded residents to safety via inflatable boats.