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70,000 homes without electricity as high winds hit France

media Winds lash the Brittany coast in January Reuters/Mal Langsdon

Central and north-east France were on storm alert Sunday after high winds had cut off electriticy to about 70,000 homes in Brittany and the Channel coast overnight.

With winds reaching as high as 160 kilometres an hour on the north-western French coast, 33,000 homes were without power in Normandy on Sunday morning, 18,700 in Brittany and 16,500 in the Loire-Atlantique region, south of Brittany, according to power company Enedis.

The Météo France weather service lifted its orange high-winds alert for Brittany and Normandy on Sunday but maintained it for three departments in the north-east - Nord, Pas de Calais and Somme - and three near the central cities of Lyon and Saint Etienne - Rhône, Loire and Haute Loire.

The storm came from the north Atlantic, combining with a strong airstream hitting north-western France, producing an "an event that occurs three or four times per year".

A woman was taken to hospital in Rennes after being seriously hurt in Brittany's Côte d'Armor department when her car hit a fallen tree, local officials said.

The fire brigade in Brittany was called out more than 600 times during the night, mainly to clear blocked roads, they said.

Although the weather was expected to calm down in most of the country on Sunday, Météo France warned that winds could reach 80 kilometres per hour near Lyon and reach 100-115 kilometres per hour during the night.


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