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Winter Storm Blamed For Deaths, Damage in Europe

December 27, 2013

By Harold Heckle, AP


MADRID - High winds, torrential rain and crashing waves killed two people and temporarily shut a Spanish opera house, while blustery weather elsewhere in Europe delayed trains and caused severe flooding, authorities said Friday.

A 47-year-old man and an 11-year-old girl drowned in the Canary Islands when they were swept away by waves on La Graciosa island on Thursday, the regional government said in a statement Friday.

Two other members of the same family - a 16-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl - were rescued by boats. In another incident, a Russian yachtsman was plucked from his foundering vessel.

Valencia`s opera house, which was scheduled for a Friday concert, was shut after parts of the building`s masonry fell.

Regional government spokesman Maximo Buch said late Friday that the building would remain closed indefinitely until repairs make it safe again.

The music venue was designed by Valencia-born architect Santiago Calatrava and generated headlines in 2006 when it was revealed that its construction had cost more than 332 million euros ($455.6 million), a sum that was four times the original budget.

In Britain, Friday`s foul weather complicated efforts to clean up from a previous storm which hit just before Christmas, lashing the island nation with driving rain, causing floods, cutting power and snarling travel for thousands.

British energy authorities said that some 20,000 people were without power across the country.

The outages led to an on-camera confrontation Friday for Prime Minister David Cameron, who was visiting the flood-hit village of Yalding, in southern England. A woman accosted him and accused authorities of going on their Christmas break without assuring power was turned back on.

France`s national weather service raised the flood alert for much of France`s northwest on Friday. The Interior Ministry warned that areas that were flooded in another storm earlier this week could be hit again.

An oil tanker that ran aground off the Moroccan port of Tan Tan during high winds Monday, meanwhile, remained stuck there on Friday. The vessel did not appear to be leaking any of its 5,000-ton cargo.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Story image: In this Oct. 5, 2005, file photo, the Opera House is illuminated at twilight in Valencia, Spain just before its official inauguration Spain`s by Queen Sofia. Parts of the building`s cladding fell in high winds this week. AP Photo/ Fernando Bustamante

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