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Woman swept away to sea as storms hit France

media Waves crash against a lighthouse during Storm Christian at Boulogne sur Mer, northern France Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

A woman was washed away by a wave on the French island of Belle-Ile on Monday after a night of storms that saw electricity cut off from 75,000 homes across the north and west of the country.

At midday Monday 42,000 homes in Brittany, Normandy and along the Channel coast still had no power after Storm Christian hit northern France on Saturday and Sunday.

Power cuts continued Monday although the wind, which had reached 139 kilometres per hour on the Brittany coast, was dying down and the power company, ERDF, hoped to reconnect all the households that had been cut off by the end of the afternoon.

Rescue services weree mobilised on the Brittany island of Belle Ile after a woman in her 50s was carried away by a wave.

Although toppled trees and telegraph polls were blockign roads in Normandy, France escaped lightly compared to the south of England, where the storm has been named Saint Jude after the patron saint of lost causes whose day is 28 October.

Floods and obstructions caused transport chaos in parts of the country and a 14-year-old boy was swept away to sea on Sunday afternoon.

In the Netherlands a woman was killed and her companion hospitalised when a tree fell on them in the centre of Amsterdam and several other people were injured in the city.

The storm marks the end of an Indian summer of unseasonally mild temperatures in France with the thermometer expected to fall fro 17°C to 13°C by Thursday.


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