A powerful storm hit France's southwestern coast early Saturday, February 4, 2017, downing trees and power lines and leaving more than 250 000 homes without power. This is the second storm to hit France since Thursday. The third one, less intense, is expected on Sunday.
The hardest hit were departments of Gironde and Charentes where winds reached speeds up to 148 km/h (92 mph). Officials said firefighters were called more than 140 times overnight due to fallen trees and power lines. There are no reports of injuries.
Meteo France warned that some places could even see winds reaching 160 km/h (99 mph) and issued red alerts for Charente, Charente-Maritime, and Gironde. Allier, Cher, Corrèze, Creuse, Dordogne, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Vienne, and Haute-Vienne were put on orange alert.
Video courtesy BFMTV
The agency said the storm will be very violent and capable of causing huge damage that could affect people for several days. It urged residents not to travel in the area and to stay inside at all costs.
Credit: Meteo France
The first storm hit the coast on Thursday evening causing wave peaks of up to 12 m (39 feet), The Local reported. Residents have been warned of the risks of "marine submersion", where large waves and declining water levels can lead to flooding in coastal areas.
"The marine submersion could cause severe and rapid flooding, and the waves could damage coastal infrastructure," Meteo France said.
Winds are expected to ease up late Saturday before the third storm hits the western coastline on Sunday, February 5. Violent winds brought by the third storm will be accompanied by a snowstorm in the Pyrenees.
Featured image: Damage in Gironde, France on February 4, 2017. Credit: BFMTV