SEVENTY thousand French homes were left without power overnight and Finistère suffered severe flooding as Storm Qumaira roared across the northwest.
In Pays de Loire alone, winds of up to 120kph brought down powerlines, and cut supplies to 30,000 houses. Météo France put 36 departments on ‘orange alert’.
The devastating storm, which swept up from Portugal and caused widespread travel disruption, was forecast to head north into Belgium by noon but not before it causes further disruption.
As morning broke, Météo France put Morbihan on ‘red alert’, the same level as neighbouring Finistère, where three weeks’ worth of rain has fallen in two days. Ille-et-Vilaine is still on ‘orange alert’ for flooding, while the five departments of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy remain on high alert because of the winds.
And any respite as Qumaira moves north is likely to be brief. A third winter storm, named Ruth, is gathering strength in the Atlantic. It is expected to smash into Britain and Ireland later today before whipping into France’s weather-beaten Atlantic west overnight.
Brittany Ferries has already cancelled some services between Roscoff and Plymouth tonight and tomorrow as Ruth bears down.
EDF has been working to restore power and had reconnected 15,000 homes by 8am, but 55,000 properties were still without electricity.
The Finistère town of Morlaix fell victim to flash floods yesterday evening but the water - which was nearly 1m deep in places - have started to recede, while local newspaper Le Telegramme reports that the Laita broke its banks in Quimper.
Further south, Landerneau and Morgat were also affected. Train services were disrupted between Brest and Quimper and it was announced that schools in Châteaulin would be closed today.
Photo: Météo France