Strong winds close ski slopes in France and leave tens of thousands without power

Fearing for the safety of skiers, several French ski resorts shut their shut their slopes on Friday while 140,000 homes were left without power in central France.

Strong winds close ski slopes in France and leave tens of thousands without power
Strong winds have put several departements are on orange alert on Friday. Photo: AFP/Meteo France

Storm Elsa that battered much of central France overnight on Thursday and Friday morning left tens of thousands without power in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

Much of the area was placed on Orange alert on Thursday evening and by Friday the storm was whipping up winds of up to 150km/h.

Forecasters say the rough weather will have blown through by Friday afternoon although more storms are forecast for the weekend.

Winds of up to 200 kilometres per hour also forced ski resorts in France's southern Pyrenees to temporarily shut down their slopes.

“We have to close when the winds are too strong to ensure the safety of skiers,” said Anais Aguillon of the ski holiday website N'Py which has eight ski resorts in the Pyrenees.

Aquillon said the slopes would reopen as possible, most likely this weekend.


National weather service Meteo France has placed four departments in the Pyrenees on the orange alert – the second highest weather warnings – for strong winds.

This is just the last episode in what has been a tumultous weather season in France, with floods and wind gusts of up to 100 km battering the south and central parts of the country just earlier this week.


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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.