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140kph wind to hit France tonight as Storm Ciara peaks

Winds of up to 140kph are to hit the north of France tonight (Sunday February 9) as the peak of Storm Ciara approaches, with 35 departments on orange alert for wind and flooding.

Gusts of more than 100kph had been forecast, with Météo France revising this up to 140kph last night. The highest wind speed is expected across the Vosges mountain range (Grand Est‎, ‎Bourgogne-Franche-Comté).

Gusts of 70-80kph are expected between Brittany, Paris, and the Hauts-de-France, with wind of up to 100-120kph on the coasts of the English Channel.

Marion Pirat from Météo France said: “The peak of the episode will be Sunday night. On the coast, it will be more powerful and could reach 120kph. We could even see gusts of up to 140kph on the peaks of the Vosges. The wind will continue to blow in Grand Est all morning on Monday [February 10].”

The forecaster has dubbed the episode “a strong winter storm”, and reminded the public that this kind of weather is “rather normal” for this time of year.

In a press release, Météo France added: “On exposed areas in the Channel, winds could reach 120-140kph.”


Rain and flooding

Strong rain is also expected, especially in regions bordering Belgium and Luxembourg. Flooding could become an issue, “especially in the north of the Seine towards the Ardennes”, said Ms Pirat.

Residents are warned to be alert to falling trees, she added, as “waterlogged soil finds it more difficult to hold on to tree roots”, making them at risk of being uprooted and falling over.

On the coastlines, high waves may cause flooding in Brittany and on the coasts of the English Channel.

Ms Pirat said: “We are expecting waves up to six metres high, so will be particularly monitoring the coasts.”

Residents and fishermen in these areas are warned to respect tidal hours, as the “sea will go out very far and will rise just as quickly”.

The storm has been created by strong, high pressure from the Azores hitting a cold depression north of the UK, Météo France said.

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