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West coast of France threatened by flooding

Ben McPartland · 6 Jan 2014, 09:07

Published: 06 Jan 2014 09:07 GMT+01:00

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With parts of Brittany barely recovered from the devastating floods that hit the region last week, coastal areas of western France were once again subject to severe weather warnings on Monday.

In all, eight departments were placed on “vigilance orange” – the second highest alert, by the country’s meteorological service Meteo France, over fears high seas and strong waves could cause coastal flooding.

“In the context of an already fragile coastline the existence of high and powerful waves, associated with high tidal levels, can cause flooding and requires a special alert,” Meteo France said on Monday.

The phenomenon has been caused by a storm over the Atlantic which is now shifting north east, bringing with it huge waves, that are expected to hit France’s Atlantic coast on Monday afternoon.

Powerful waves already resulted in a woman being swept out to sea near Biarritz in the south west of the country.

The woman, aged in her thirties was taken by surprise  (SEE VIDEO BELOW) as she walked by  rocks near the lighthouse at Biarritz, an area that is known for being dangerous and where walkers are strongly advised to avoid, Le Parisien reports. A helicopter was brought in to search for the woman but rescuers were unable to locate her.

A man was also left hospitalised after being hit by the same wave and dragged out to sea, where he survived for 20 minutes before being rescued.

This video captured by a witness shows the huge waves crashing into the rocks beofre the pair were swept out to sea by a giant wave.

The search to find the woman was continuing on Monday.
Story continues below…

In Finistère, western Brittany where flooding left several towns submerged last week, the continuing bad weather has meant water levels have still not receded.

According to the local authority in Finistère, the level of flood waters are stabilising again after they rose again on Sunday in the badly hit town on Quimperlé.

The town, was left submerged (see photo) when the river Laïta burst its banks.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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