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Violent storms in France block train, cause injuries

PARIS — Violent overnight storms have hit northern France, injuring scores of people and leaving 200,000 homes without electricity.

Strong winds caused havoc for some rail passengers who were stranded overnight Thursday to Friday in a high-speed Thalys train after a tree was blown onto the tracks.

The 210 passengers spent the night without electricity, heating and liquids in the train that was travelling from Brussels to Paris. The track has since been cleared.

France's Interior Ministry said Friday that nearly 50 people were injured overnight in weather-related accidents, although none seriously. No deaths were reported.

Authorities said areas worst hit included Normandy and Picardy where respectively 76,000 homes and 61,000 homes were without electricity Friday — and that emergency services were called out 4,041 times to deal with the storms' impact.

Along the east coast of Britain, authorities put the military on standby in the event of coastal flooding. Warnings have been issued.

"The combination of gale-force winds, high tides, dangerous waves carrying rocks and a coastal surge means parts of the east coast are extremely dangerous," said Environment Agency national duty manager Mark Sitton-Kent.

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