Floods, 200km/h winds and wildfires as Storm Ciara batters France

Storm Ciara continued to batter France overnight with localised flooding, 200 km/h winds and wildfires.

Floods, 200km/h winds and wildfires as Storm Ciara batters France
Wildfires in Corsica. Photo: AFP

Although the winds were dying out on Tuesday morning, emergency services have cautioned people to stay away from risky situations as crews continue to battle with the after-effects of the storm.

French weather forecaster Météo France kept 12 départements on orange alert for strong winds and flood risk on Tuesday.

Corsica was the worst hit area as wind gusts sweeping over the island reached a speed of more than 200 km/h overnight.

On Tuesday morning, firefighters in two different parts of the island were trying to extinguish fires that had broken out overnight. 


The wildfires ravaging the Cap-Corse had destroyed 90 hectares of forest, according to France Bleu.

Although the situation was predicted to be better in most parts of the country on Tuesday, authorities cautioned their inhabitants to stay safe and keep clear of high-risk areas, like roads that could be prone to flooding.

In Seine-Maritime the authorities urged inhabitants to  keep clear of the Seine riverbank “despite temporary improvements,” as the situation “would get worse again.” 


On Monday the storm had caused severe disruption to the SNCF train traffic, but the national rail company said in the evening traffic would run smoothly on Tuesday except for “some isolated difficulties.


In Paris although the Metro was running largely as normal traffic on both the suburban RER services and the greater Paris Transilien network was badly disrupted and overnight several RER lines stopped running altogether due to the weather conditions.



The storm had 40 flights cancelled from Paris' two airports Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly, but no delays were expected on Tuesday, according to French news channel BFMTV.

On Monday, trees and electricity poles were blown over and roofs ripped off homes across 31 départments, fire and rescue services said.130,000 homes were without electricity on Monday morning, according to the electricity network company Enedis. 

The regions most affected by the power cuts were Brittany, Normandy, Hauts-de-France, the Grand Est and the greater Paris Île-de-France region. 


Paris firefighters said they had received a “large number of calls” and appealed to people to limit their movements as far as possible and secure all belongings.

The storm was expected to weaken in intensity on Tuesday afternoon. 


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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.