Weather warning: Northern France on alert as Storm Eunice lashes region

Five départements in Northern France were on orange alert on Friday morning with residents warned to take precautions amid gale-force winds and possible coastal flooding.

Northern France faces strong winds and huge waves on Friday, as storm Eunice begins to hit.
Northern France faces strong winds and huge waves on Friday, as storm Eunice begins to hit. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP)

Residents of northern France have been urged to be “very vigilant” due to the strong winds caused by Storm Eunice, which has already led to at least five deaths elsewhere in Europe. 

The départements of Pas-de-Calais, Somme and Seine-Maritime have been placed on amber alert for strong winds and flooding. Manche and Nord départements have been given such alerts for strong winds alone. 

Parts of northern France have been placed on amber.

Parts of northern France have been placed on orange alert. This means residents should be “very vigilant” towards weather conditions. (Source: Météo-France)

Train services in some of these départements have been cancelled entirely – others partially. Be sure to check with your rail provider before attempting any journey. Services running between these départements and the rest of France have also been interrupted. 

French authorities have suggested a number of measures to protect yourself amid these weather conditions.

If it is particularly windy where you are, you should:

  • Protect your house and other goods exposed to the wind;
  • Keep yourself informed on the situation, consulting official sources;
  • Limit any travel plans (even short drives to the supermarket);
  • Be careful of falling trees or objects – don’t remain below something susceptible to land on you;
  • Don’t choose today to do maintenance on your roof
  • Install an electric generator outside your house (it may be a little to late for this in practice). 

For those facing coastal flooding risks – particularly from large sea waves as is the current case – you are advised to:

  • Don’t go to the beach or for a swim in the sea;
  • Stay away from the coast and estuaries;
  • Stay informed about the evolving situation and have an emergency bag ready;
  • Keep an eye on the rising waters and protect goods that could be submerged. 
  • Go to the highest point in your building. Climbing onto the roof is a measure of last resort.

According to Méteo France, the country’s national weather service, violent winds are expected to last from shortly after 9am until after 6pm on Friday. The flooding risk is predicted to be highest between shortly after 9am through to about 4pm on Friday. 

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UPDATE: Stormy weather alerts issued in France

France's meteorological service has issued orange alerts for storms in 21 départements urging the population to be vigilant.

UPDATE: Stormy weather alerts issued in France

Météo France has warned that much of the country will experience storms on Sunday. 

21 départements have been issued orange weather warnings. 

They include Landes, Gironde, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Vienne, Haute-Vienne, Corrèze, Creuse, Cantal, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Allier, Cher, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres, Haute-Loire and Loire.

People living or visiting these areas are urged to “be very vigilant”. 

Forecasters predict hail and strong winds of up to 110km/h in some areas. Périgord, Limousin, Quercy and areas to the east of Poitou and Charentes are most likely to be battered by strong gusts. 

This weather is set to last until about 3AM on Monday. 

The storms will coincide with temperatures surpassing 30 degrees across much of the southern half of the country.

Last weekend, violent thunder storms left thousands of homes without electricity in northwestern France.