Storm waves dump 50-tonne block on breakwater

A 50-tonne concrete block sits on top of the central breakwater at St Jean de Luz with white-topped waves in background and seagull
The 50-tonne concrete block sits on top of the central breakwater at St Jean de Luz

Forecasters warn of violent winds in central France with orange alert in place

Fierce seas have lifted a 50-tonne concrete block and dumped it on the breakwater at Atlantic resort St-Jean-de-Luz.

The block, spotted on top of the centre Artha breakwater, was thrown up by waves earlier this week during the violent storms that lashed the length of the Atlantic coast.

Measuring four metres long by two metres high and roughly the same width – the same size as a small car – the block was thrown about 20m by the waves which came as orange alerts for ‘vagues-submersion’ were in force.

High waves lash the coast at St Jean de Luz
This historic photo shows storm waves hitting St Jean de Luz breakwater

Pyrénées-Atlantique departmental council, which is responsible for the maintenance of the Basque resort’s three breakwaters that protect the crescent shaped seafront, told local newspaper Sud-Ouest that the storm waves plus a strong north-westerly current combined to lift the block.

The same thing happened in 1951 when a concrete block was thrown on to the breakwater – and then washed it off a few days later.

Now the council is looking to see what should be done.

An orange alert for violent winds is in force in central France from lunchtime today until noon on Saturday with a stormy weekend ahead for many.

The orange alert has been called for Loire, Haute-Loire and Rhône departments but 80kph winds are this morning hitting Finistère and will be followed later this afternoon by storms from Basse-Normandie and Brittany down to Aquitaine.

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Winds from the south are building in strength over the Pyrénées, Massif Central and northern Rhône-Alpes with gusts of up to 110kph.



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