Hundreds of flights scrapped as storm shuts Amsterdam airport

260 flights canceled at major European hub

By HILARY MCGANN AND ANGELA DEWAN, CNN
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

(CNN) - A powerful windstorm forced the Netherlands' Schiphol Airport to close temporarily on Thursday and caused airlines to cancel 320 flights in and out of the facility in Amsterdam.

The airport has reopened and passengers are checking in as air traffic gradually resumes, Schiphol Airport said on Twitter, but the storm has brought chaos to flight schedules. The airport earlier announced all air traffic had been suspended because of "severe weather conditions."

Many of the canceled flights were operated by Air France and Dutch airline KLM, which both reported disrupted schedules.

"Air traffic is restricted for safety reasons during a storm. This is because of the limited number of runways available to Air Traffic Control ... under such conditions where aircraft can land or take off safely," the airport said in a statement.

Strong winds have also blown roof plates off buildings, forcing the airport to close two departure entrances.

Schiphol Airport is a major hub for European flights.

The tracking app FlightRadar24 said many planes were diverting from Schiphol to other airports in the region because of wind speeds of up to 65 knots. It said Dusseldorf airport in Germany was also affected by strong winds.

The Netherlands Meteorological Institute issued a weather alert in the country's east but said that winds were starting to ease.

Photographs showed people waiting at Dutch train stations as rail services were canceled.

Windstorms have also affected commuters in other parts of the region.

A representative from German railway Deutsche Bahn said most high-speed trains north of the Rhine valley had been canceled and advised against travel around western Germany. Routes between Dusseldorf, Cologne, Bonn and Dortmund are particularly affected.

In the UK, windstorms brought down trees and caused temporary power outages in parts of the country, and public transport was also affected.

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