LONDON -- A storm packing hurricane-force winds whipped through parts of Western Europe early yesterday, killing at least 22 people and knocking down buildings, trees and hundreds of miles of power lines.
In England, the storm was the worst in centuries, striking the south without warning. At least 13 persons were killed.
The gales swept in off the English Channel, rolled through the orchards of Kent and smashed into London just before dawn, knocking out electric power across the capital.
The same storm battered northern France Thursday night and yesterday morning, killing four persons. The storm hit northwestern Spain Thursday and was blamed for one death.
In Portugal, torrential rains whipped by gales blocked roads, uprooted trees, cut power lines and flooded neighborhoods in the central and northern regions. Four people died and nine were injured.
The London Weather Center said winds in London gusted up to 94 mph, the strongest ever recorded in the capital, and hit 110 mph on the Channel Island of Guernsey between southeast England and the French coast.
Hundreds of ancient trees were uprooted at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. "Kew Gardens will never be the same in our lifetime," said spokeswoman Christine Brandt.