How has western Europe been affected by the storms of February 2010?

The storms that hit western Europe at the end of February 2010 were predicted, but the damage was greater than expected, partly because of the collapse of sea defences:

A news report from the event can be seen here:

The damage was particularly bad because of a storm surge which broke through inadequate defences:

This led the French governement to declare the storms a national disaster:

There is more about storm surges here:

and about the devastating 1953 storm surge here:

The storms are part of a series of strong winter storms which have affected western Europe:

Amongst the worst was the one which caused severe damage on the island of Madeira:


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