France on orange alert as Storm Amélie hits

Waves and wind are expected to be especially strong as the alert for Storm Amélie continues

There are 15 departments on orange storm alert for violent wind up to 140 kph in west France (Sunday November 3) this morning, plus two alerts for and rain and flooding in the east, as Storm Amélie arrives.

Orange is the second-most severe alert level. Forecaster Météo France has dubbed Storm Amélie “the first autumnal storm, requiring particular vigilance”.

The west coast, from the Vendée to the Pyrénées-Atlantiques is on especially high alert for wind and a risk of flooding from tall waves and strong winds on the Atlantic Ocean.

Wind gusts are expected to reach up from 90-130 kph in the Massif Central, up to 140-150 kph in the departments of Charente-Maritime and Gironde. Electric storms from the Mediterranean are expected to spread north, bringing “strong electric activity” and up to 40-120 mm of rain, depending on area.

Corsica could see 100-140mm of rain in just a few hours.

The storm alert also extends inland across to Nievre, Puy-de-Dome and Cantal. Flooding alerts are also in place in the Alpes-Maritimes, and Corse-du-Sud.

The alerts are expected to remain in place until at least 16h today, and may continue to 6h tomorrow morning (Monday).

(Image: Météo France / vigilance.meteofrance.com)

Residents are warned to be vigilant, especially in high winds. Météo France said that there could be a potential risk to life. It added that driving conditions may be difficult, and there could be damage to electricity and telephone wires, and delays or cancellations on public transport networks.

Locals are also reminded to be alert to falling trees, branches, and other debris; to not go on to roofs or exposed areas; and to limit their journeys by foot or vehicle unless 100% necessary.

Southern France has already experienced severe storm conditions overnight. In Marseille, the equivalent of one month's worth of rain fell in one hour (42 mm). In Vitrolles, around 40 people had to be evacuated.

In Nice, floodwater also rose and threatened roads, homes, and businesses.

Already, 100,000 people are without power in the south west, and trees fell and buildings were damaged in winds of up to 160 kph in the Gironde.

The A8 motorway has been cut off this morning in Nice, due to a mudslide.

Forecaster Frédéric Decker told BMFTV: "We were expecting a storm, but not something so violent. The storm [Amélie] has exponentially increased this phenomenon."

The full list of departments on alert is:

Allier, Cantal, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Corrèze, Creuse, Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Deux-Sèvres, Vendée, Vienne, Haute-Vienne, Alpes-Maritimes, and Corse-du-Sud.

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