Life slowly returned to normal in Germany on Friday after one of the worst storms in 20 years left 10 persons dead and a massive trail of disruption in its wake.

Wind gusts of up to 202 kilometres per hour uprooted trees, tore down power cables and sent a two-ton steel support crashing 40 metres to the ground at Berlin's new main railway station.

Ferry routes on the North Sea and Baltic Sea were suspended, hundreds of flights were cancelled and German national railways halted all operations for the first time in its history.

Train services limped back to life on Friday morning, but Berlin's billion-euro (1.29 billion dollars) central station, opened with great fanfare eight months ago, remained sealed off.

Inspectors were due to examine the five-storey glass and concrete building later in the day to see if could be reopened. In the meantime, commuter rail services and long-distance trains were re-routed to other stations in the capital.

The storm, given the name Kyrill, overturned trucks, tore roofs off houses and blacked out electricity supplies to several towns in the north and south of Germany.

Among the 10 people who lost their lives were an 18-month-old baby killed by a door ripped off its hinges in Munich and two firemen crushed by uprooted trees in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Many schools allowed pupils to leave early on Thursday before the full force of the storm struck, bringing torrential rain and flooding to some areas, including parts of Berlin.

The winds also blew away part of the coastal defences on some of Germany's North Sea islands, but warnings of a massive tidal flood proved unfounded.

Thousands of travellers were forced to spend the night in railway stations after rail services were cancelled as the emergency services mobilized some 40,000 workers to help in relief operations.

"We're not taking any risks as far as passengers are concerned," said Hartmut Mehdorn, the head of the national rail company Deutsche Bahn, in justifying the unprecedented step.

Many stations remained opened throughout the night, providing emergency accommodation and distributing tea and blankets to stranded passengers.

The storm lost force in the early hours of Friday morning as it moved across Europe's biggest economy in a south-easterly direction.