Meteo France says it is expecting the first big winter storm with very strong winds this week, AFP reports. The French weather forecaster is expecting winds to reach 120 to 130km/hour on the coastline.
The Channel coast is already seeing massive waves, expected to reach heights of six to seven metres on Thursday. Three departments, Côtes d’Armor, Finistère and Morbihan, were already on orange alert on Wednesday, but the warning was extended to eight other departments.
There are fears the storm could be as violent as the Xinthia storm in 2010, which killed 29 people in the sea resort of Faute-sur-mer in the western department of Vendée.
Meteo France warns that residents should look out for falling trees and flying objects. Local fishermen have also been banned from going out to sea.
In the northern Pas-de-Calais department, Meteo France warns of possible flooding if the heavy rain causes the already swollen river Lys-Amont to overflow.
On Monday, one person died in the port of Hendaye in the Pyrenees, after being sucked out to sea by waves battering the coast.