Weather warning issued as coast braces for storm

Violent winds and massive waves are battering the Britanny coast and expected to hit the west of France over the next 24 hours. Eleven French departments have been put on orange alert.

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.

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South west France on red alert for flooding

Five areas in south west France have been placed on a red weather alert for flooding as storms lash the region.

South west France on red alert for flooding
Storms are moving in to south west France over the Pyrenees. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Météo France has placed five départements in south west France – Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège – on a red weather alert for heavy rains and flooding.

Extremely heavy rainstorms have hit the area, with a band of storm clouds travelling along the Pyrenees, bringing the risk of avalanches in the mountains and flooding in lowland areas.

The neighbouring département of Pyrénées-Orientale is on orange alert, along with the principality of Andorra. In the north, Aisne is also on orange alert for heavy rain.

Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, gradually easing off towards the evening, although the flood alerts remain in place until Tuesday.