Parts of northern Europe were scrambling to restore electricity services Thursday after gale-force winds which also disrupted rail and air travel.

In France, around 120,000 homes were still without power by the early afternoon, grid operator Enedis said, with some 4,000 technicians called out to reconnect households.

Several hundred incidents of disruption were reported on the railways, mostly involving fallen trees blocking tracks.

The strong winds also blew other objects onto the rails, including a trampoline, tarpaulins and sheets of corrugated iron ripped from the roofs of houses, rail operator SNCF said.

Storm "Aurore" swept east over the country overnight, packing winds of up to 175 kilometres (110 miles) per hour and triggering orange weather alerts, the second-highest alert level, in many parts of the country.

Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said in a tweet that the Ile-de-France region around Paris, Normandy, northern France and eastern Lorraine regions had been the worst affected.

Rail traffic was slowly returning to normal on Thursday.

Social media were abuzz with commuters sharing pictures of damage caused by falling trees.

In the western Brittany region, a number of homes were destroyed by flash floods.

The storm has since travelled to Germany, where it is called "Ignatz" and has caused gusts of around 100 km/h.

Some 50,000 households in the east of the country lost power, mainly in the states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

Rail travel was suspended in those regions, and disrupted in the rest of the country, rail operator Deutsche Bahn reported, calling on passengers to delay any plans to travel.

People were also urged to avoid walking in forests where they were at risk from falling trees and branches.

In the neighbouring Netherlands meanwhile there were reports of mini-tornadoes injuring four people.

Images from the town of Barendrecht near Rotterdam showed damaged roofs, smashed-up garden sheds and flipped-over trampolines in one street.

"You can see that it has been intense," deputy mayor Nico Bults was quoted as saying by public broadcaster NOS. "That is quite impressive and of course also frightening for the residents."

A campsite in Zelhem near the German border was also struck by a whirlwind with a tree branch hitting a chalet, media reports said.

Meteorological services declared a code yellow alert.

Dutch airline KLM cancelled more than 60 flights due to a combination of the strong winds and maintenance on a runway, NOS said.



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