At least 4 dead as powerful Storm Babet hits Europe with hurricane-force winds

The first minister of Scotland said the country was expecting around half of October’s monthly rainfall in only a few days, leading to significant flooding.

LONDON – At least four people were killed across western Europe as a conglomeration of storm systems identified by the United Kingdom’s meteorological agency as Storm Babet impacted the region with hurricane-force wind gusts and rainfall amounts that could exceed 4 inches in many communities.

The U.K.'s Met Office issued some of its highest alerts Friday for parts of Scotland ahead of the arrival of heavy rain and flooding.

Babet was officially named by the agency on Oct. 16, but its origin can be traced back to the Eastern Pacific Ocean when Hurricane Lidia pounded the Mexican coastline, more than a week ago.

Moisture from Lidia, Tropical Storm Max and other features in the Western Hemisphere combined to produce a formidable storm system in the North Atlantic, which continues to slowly move across Europe.

Authorities in Scotland said two people were killed as a result of the flooding and high winds, with more life-threatening impacts expected into the weekend.

"Storm Babet has now, tragically, claimed lives, and my deepest condolences go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones in tragic circumstances," Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, it is clear we have not seen the last of this storm. Around half the average monthly rainfall for October is expected to fall through tonight and tomorrow in areas that have already been severely affected by exceptional levels of rainfall."


A third death was reported in central England after local police said water breached a roadway, carrying away a man who was in his 60s.

And German authorities reported a woman was killed after a tree fell on her car on the island of Fehmarn, along the northern coast. 

"This is not usual autumn weather," stated Andy Page, the Met Office's chief meteorologist. "This is an exceptional event, and we are likely to continue to see significant impacts with the potential for further flooding and damage to properties. There are numerous National Severe Weather Warnings in place for both rain and wind over the coming days." reported at least 12,000 customers from England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland were without electricity as of Friday evening.

In eastern England, conditions were considered too treacherous to allow some students leave school on Friday, meaning they were spending the night in leisure centres and on campuses until the weather improved.

The extreme weather has also caused problems for travelers. 

A TUI Airways jet carrying nearly 200 passengers slid off a runway while landing at Leeds Bradford Airport on Friday. An airport spokesperson said no one was injured during the incident, and all passengers and crew safely disembarked the aircraft. The airport was closed following the incident that occurred during heavy rainfall and gusty winds.

Other airports in England and Europe remained open but were the source of significant delays and cancellations, according to data from FlightAware.