Storm Carmen hit western parts of France on Monday, January 1, 2018, bringing heavy rain and wind gusts up to 130 km/h (81 mph). At least one person has been killed and 65 000 customers left without power in the third and strongest storm to hit France this winter. The fourth named storm - Eleanor - is expected to hit the country with strength comparable to Carmen today and tomorrow. Orange Alerts are in effect across 21 departments today and tomorrow.
There was no major damage reported by Monday afternoon, according to local media reports.
However, French power grid company Enedis said some 65 000 of its customers in Brittany, Pays-de-la-Loire, and Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the country's west were left without power. According to RFI, one man was killed when a tree hit his car in Saint-Jean-de-Port in French Basque Country.
With Carmen now away, Meteo France placed 21 departments on Orange Alert as the country braces for yet another strong storm - Eleanor. In addition, the Finistere coastline is on alert for particularly intense waves which may breach beach walls and other coastline barriers, and cause flooding.
Eleanor is expected to sweep the country on Tuesday, January 2 and Wednesday, January 3 with winds up to 120 km/h (74 mph) along the coast and 100 - 110 km/h (up to 70 mph) closer inland.
21 départements en #VigilanceOrange aux vents forts (rafales > 120 km/h sur la côte, >100 km/h dans les terres) et aux vagues-submersion avec le passage de #StormEleanor à partir de cette nuit et pour demain. @meteofrance pic.twitter.com/2yRSFAYT1p— Sébastien Léas (@SebastienLeas) January 2, 2018
Officials urged residents not to go outside if not necessary and to watch out for falling trees or branches and other objects. Homeowners are warned to postpone any outside building work, especially on roofs, and to bring indoors any outside or garden objects that may be affected by strong winds. Keep away from beaches and coastline, and do not take part in any watersports.
France 24 said major power cuts or blackouts in France are rare. The last major outage took place in July 2015 when some 830 000 homes in western France lost power after exceptionally warm weather damaged transformers.
Featured image: IR image taken 13:00 UTC, January 2, 2017. Credit: SSEC, UW-CIMSS