Floodwaters in Hamburg early on Friday morning. City officials closed off flooded areas and some people reportedly had trouble reaching work in the morning.
A low-pressure system is bringing the worst flooding in decades to parts of Northern Europe, which is being pummeled by snow, rain and hurricane-force winds. At least three deaths have been reported.
A major storm surge threatened parts of northern Europe on Friday as a low-pressure system dubbed "Xaver" began battering the coasts with chilly hurricane-force winds. The United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia were most heavily affected by the severe storm, but cancelled flights and trains caused problems across Europe. By Thursday night, officials had reported at least three storm-related deaths in the UK and Denmark.
Thousands of residents living in the UK's eastern coastal areas were forced to spend the night in schools or emergency shelters amid warnings of flooding, which the UK's Environment Agency said could be the highest in some 60 years. Late on Thursday, authorities closed the Thames Barrier to protect London from rising waters.
The storm brought rain, hail and snow with the tidal surge, and the German port city of Hamburg has seen its worst flooding in decades, forcing authorities to close off parts of the city center on Thursday night. "We have a tidal surge the likes of which we have rarely seen in the last 10 or 20 years," said a city official on Friday. Water levels were reportedly some 6 meters (20 feet) above sea level early on Friday morning, a level last reached just twice in the early 1990s.