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One man dies as New Year storm approaches France

media Waves hit the coast at Batz-sur-Mer, western France, a day before storm Carmen's arrival LOIC VENANCE:AFP

One man was killed and 40,000 homes hit by power cuts as high winds hit France ahead of the arrival of Storm Carmen on Monday.

Some 40 of France's 101 departments were on storm warning on Monday with Storm Carmen hitting the Atlantic coast in the morning.

There was rain and high winds in parts of the country even before it arrived, although it was not necessary to call of Paris's New Year fireworks, as had been feared.

A man in his 60s was killed when a tree hit his car in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the French Basque Country.

Earlier in weekend two skiers died - one, a Spaniard, in the Pyrenees mountains that straddle the Spanish border, the other, a Frenchman, in the Alps.

Flying chicken coop

In the western region of Brittany 40,000 households suffered power cuts, according to power company Enedis.

In the far-western area of Finistère the wind ripped up a chicken coop and blew it onto the RN165 main road, while two container ships had to take shelter in the port of Brest.

A number of seaside events, such as New Year parties and swims, were cancelled on Sunday and ferry links to the islands of Belle-Ile and Ouessant off Brittany were closed, as was the bridge to the island of Noirmoutier.

Corsica to bear brunt

Carmen is the third storm to hit France this winter a fter Ada and Bruno in December and meteorologists predicted winds of up to 150km/h moving across the Massif Central mountains overnight.

The Mediterranean island of Corsica was expected to be hardest hit when the storm arrived.

The public has been warned to avoid unnecessary trips, drive slowly, avoid seafronts and forests, and watch out for falling trees, roof-tiles and other objects.

Record New Year temperature in Paris

Despite the wind and rain, the weather in Paris was unprecedentedly clement on New Year's Eve.

At 15.1°C, temperatures were the highest since records began in 1872.

Temperatures in Strasbourg in eastern France hit 15.2°C, which was also a record.

One reason for the mild weather was in fact the approach of Storm Carmen, Météo France weather forecaster Patrick Galois told the AFP news agency.

The Netherlands also experienced record temperatures for the time of year on Sunday.

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