70,000 homes lose power as fierce storm batters northwestern France

November 20, 2016 6:00 pm

A wave breaks on a cliff street at the port of Sete, southern , as a woman walks by with her umbrella during a storm on October 13, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Darkness has enveloped nearly 70,000 homes in northwestern France as winds, gusting to hurricane force, have caused a widespread power outage, authorities say.
According to the national electricity grid Enedis, the storm cut the electricity of 33,000 homes in Normandy, 18,700 in Brittany and 16,500 in the Loire-Atlantique region on Sunday.
Enedis manages the distribution network of electricity for 95 percent of mainland France, selling electricity to some 35 million residential, company and local authority customers.
Except for a seriously injured woman in Brittany’s Cote d’Armor region, no casualties have been reported yet. Local officials in Brittany, however, said the fire brigade had been called more than 600 times overnight, particularly to clear blocked roads.
Meanwhile, the national weather agency Météo-France said in a statement that winds blowing up to 160 kilometers per hour had swept through the Breton peninsula and Normandy coast overnight, with two other regions remaining under a storm alert.
The agency added that storm conditions in the northeastern Atlantic coupled with a strong airstream were heading toward northwestern France, causing “an event that occurs three or four times per year.”
The agency said a high-winds alert had already been issued for three regions in the northwest, and for three others in the center-east, adding that the harsh winds were expected to die down on Monday.
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