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New storm batters Atlantic coast

Finistère is on red alert for flooding and eight other departments are on orange alert

NINE departments along the Atlantic coast are at risk of flooding as France is lashed by a severe storm that has already battered parts of Britain and Ireland.

Météo France has placed Finistère on red alert, and eights others on orange alert: Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Gironde, Charente-Maritime, Loire-Atlantique, Vendée, Brittany and Côtes-d'Armor. High seas are expected to cause widespread coastal flooding.

Authorities have urged people not to travel in affected areas unless absolutely necessary.

The storm surge, in combination with high tides, already high river levels and saturated ground caused by previous bad weather is adding to the risk of flooding.

Already 50 roads have been cut off in Landes, while the Garonne is said to be close to bursting its banks in Bordeaux. The city's mayor has called on residents to be vigilant, warning that the river is expected to reach the same levels it did in 2010, when it peaked at nearly 7m above normal.

Authorities are warning that the storm will continue into Saturday.

Earlier this year, a woman was swept to her death in Biarritz as a storm lashed the Atlantic coast, while many areas in the south east, south west and in Brittany were hit by severe floods.
Photo: Météo France

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