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Joachim lashes Switzerland

Storm Joachim swept over Switzerland on Friday, disrupting transport and causing power cuts in several places.

Western Switzerland was particularly badly hit.

The Swiss meteorological office described it as one of the most powerful storms in the last ten years. It said it was exceptional because it lasted so long, with winds of between 40 and 60 kilometers an hour for more than 12 hours.

The strongest gusts were measured on the Säntis in the north-east, at 176 kilometers an hour and on Pilatus, near Lucerne, at 159.

Flights were disrupted at Zurich and Basel airports, and all shipping on Lake Geneva was cancelled, including important commuter runs.

In the Jura region of canton Bern, an early morning local train was derailed after hitting a fallen tree, slightly injuring three people. Other lines in the area were also blocked by trees.

A number of places experienced power cuts, particularly in the north-western canton of Basel-Country.

However, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported.

While lower areas were lashed by rain, there were heavy snowfalls in the mountains.

In southern Switzerland, the car shuttle train between Kandersteg and Goppenstein was cancelled because of snow and the danger of avalanches, cutting off the villages of the Lötschental.

The meteorological office said on Friday evening that the storm had passed its peak at was moving eastwards.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR