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120,000 homes without power

Storm Dirk brings flooding, collapsed power lines - and the death of 12-year-old in north-west France

AN ESTIMATED 120,000 homes are spending Christmas Day without power after storms brought down power lines in Brittany and the Rhône-Alpes region.

A 12-year-old boy died in Calvados when a wall collapsed in strong winds. 

Storm Dirk brought flooding to the Breton town of Morlaix. The town's mayor said not enough warning was given and the mairie had only been able to hand out a limited number of sandbags before the worst of the rain struck.

Electricity supplier ERDF says it has 700 engineers working today to get as many homes as possible re-connected.

Winds of up to 165kph were recorded in Chamrousse, in the Isère - and a record 228kph in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

Meanwhile, in the south-east, Nice airport was closed on Christmas Day morning because of strong winds, heavy rain and poor visibility. Air France has cancelled all Nice flights until further notice and is offering a refund or a free change of flight until December 31.

In the south-west, most of the Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques ski resorts are closed as a preventive measure.

Air traffic has returned to normal at Lille airport, after it was closed after lunch on Christmas Eve.

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