Winds up to 130kph, and heavy rain are expected across France today as Storm Bella continues to approach from the north, with five departments in the centre-south also on alert for snow and ice.
Forecaster Meteo France put 87 departments on yellow alert this morning, for violent wind, flooding and storms.
Gusts of up to 130 kph
Storm Bella continued to batter the coast last night and into this morning, with gusts of up to 124 kph recorded in Gatteville-le-Phare (Manche) and Pointe du Raz (Finistère).
In Brest, gusts of up to 96 kph were recorded, as well as 112 kph in Landivisiau.
La dépression très creuse #Bella est en chemin depuis l'Islande. La perturbation tempétueuse associée va traverser la France demain avec des vents très forts, des pluies soutenues et de la neige parfois abondante sur le relief. Les intempéries se poursuivront lundi.#TempêteBella pic.twitter.com/fSne5ihkhF— VigiMétéoFrance (@VigiMeteoFrance) December 26, 2020
Normandy residents were warned to “protect buildings” and “stay at home” as gusts of 130 kph arrived from across the Channel last night.
The Dieppe deputy prefect Alain Gueydan said that the “major danger is the risk of obstacles on the roads or railways lines”.
Elisabeth Castelotti, deputy prefect of Cherbourg, advised people to continue “taking precautions” and “protect buildings by closing windows and shutters, especially along the seafront. Protect any items that could fall or that could be carried away”.
People near the coast are still strongly advised not to walk by the seafront or to enter the sea.
La tempête Bella frappe le littoral normand avec 132 km/h de vent mesurés à Fécamp (76). Des vagues de pès de 6 mètres de haut viennent submerger la digue qui mène au phare (Source : https://t.co/4hHz1FPfaF) pic.twitter.com/G3ST4JdvAD— La Chaîne Météo (@lachainemeteo) December 27, 2020
Ms Castelotti advised people to stay at home, but said that emergency “services are on alert [and] ready to respond” in case of falling trees, electricity or telephone wires being cut off, or roofs or chimneys being damaged.
Mr Gueydan said: “It’s a storm that we must take seriously. We will take all the precautions and ask that people respect the [existing] curfew from 20:00 to 06:00.”
Snow and ice
Meanwhile, Aveyron, Cantal, Corrèze, Lozère and Puy-de-Dôme are currently on orange alert for snow and ice.
The conditions are expected to particularly affect roads and driving safety.
The Massif Central is forecast to have snow on the ground from an altitude of 600m and higher.