Southeast France on red alert as Storm Alex wreaks havoc

Southeast France is on red alert today (Friday October 2) as Storm Alex continues to wreak havoc, with rain and high winds of up to 180 kph already causing loss of power for 80,000 homes in Brittany.

2 October 2020
Firefighters attend a callout after Storm Alex causes destruction in Morbihan. Southeast France on red alert as Storm Alex wreaks havocStorm Alex is continuing to move across the country after firefighters were called to attend destruction in Morbihan last night.
By Hannah Thompson

The Alpes-Maritimes is on Météo-France red alert (the highest level), while eight other surrounding departments are on orange (the second-highest) for rain, wind, and flooding.

On orange alert for storms are: Côte-d’Or, Saône-et-Loire, Rhône, Ain, Isère, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Var.

Côtes d’Armor and Finistère in Brittany are also on orange alert for rain and wind as the storm continues to pass through.

Around 200-250 mm of rain is expected to fall in the Alpes-Maritimes area within the next 24 hours. Schools, collèges, lycées, universities and crèches in the department are closed.

The alerts come after a night of destruction in Morbihan, Brittany, with firefighters attending more than 80 calls overnight for fallen trees, roofs being blown off and electric cables being blown over, as record winds of 186 kph were recorded at Belle-Ile-en-Mer and up to 157 kph on the île de Groix.

More than 80,000 people in Morbihan are now without power after the electricity was cut at around 5:00 this morning. Electricity company Enedis said: “The teams at Enedis Brittany are working on the ground to reconnect the current as quickly as possible.”

Morbihan prefect Patrice Faure commented: “We invite everyone to stay alert and to drive carefully on the roads until [debris] that can affect [traffic] circulation has been cleared.”

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted a thank you to the emergency services who had been called out overnight.

Trains between Quimper and Rennes are disrupted, with issues expected to last until the end of the morning. Train company SNCF has said that passengers should expect disruptions in the Pays de la Loire and in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

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