[Article updated January 16 at 13:50 with new weather information]
Three French departments are still under orange weather alerts today (January 16) as strong winds and threats of flooding, snow and ice grip a large swathe of the country.
The gales are linked to the low-pressure system Gérard, which was forecast to cross the north of the country before losing intensity this afternoon.
Flooding is a concern on the rivers Hem and Liane in Pas-de-Calais and heavy snow has started over the Massif Central.
This morning, some 26 departments were on orange alert and a further 66 on yellow alert, covering almost the whole country except Gard, Vaucluse, Bouche-du-Rhône and Var.
By 13:00 this had been downgraded to three departments on orange: Pas-de-Calais for flooding, and Cantal and Lozère for snow and ice. Some 84 departments remained on yellow alert.
3 départements en Orange pic.twitter.com/XAhSyeKC7n— VigiMétéoFrance (@VigiMeteoFrance) January 16, 2023
Gusts of 158km/h in Brittany
Last night, wind speeds of 158km/h were recorded at the Pointe du Raz (Finistère), 148km/h on the Ile de Groix (Morbihan), 125km/h in Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique), and 100 to 130km/h on the coast of Charente-Maritime.
Météo France described this morning’s weather as “very disturbed” as the storm passed from west to east, accompanied by strong winds.
As of 13:00 the storm was "gradually receding", it said.
Power, roads and railways impacted
As a result of the weather, electricity distribution service Enedis said that some 90,000 homes in France were without power this morning, particularly in the west.
Fallen trees were reported to be blocking roads in Morbihan, Brittany and SNCF reported disruptions due to trees falling on the tracks, particularly in Pays de la Loire, Ile-de-France and Normandy.
#Tempete #Gerard Prudence ! Arbre tombé sur la D781 à l'entrée de Erdeven en venant de Belz/Etel #Morbihan #Bretagne pic.twitter.com/sygZEqswWx— Alexandre (@alex_le_bars) January 16, 2023
Ferries were also affected. Rough seas and strong gusts of wind saw a Brittany Ferries boat delayed by almost two hours at the port of Caen-Ouistreham (Calvados) this morning.
A yellow alert does not mean that local residents need to take any particular action, but they are encouraged to remain vigilant to the evolving situation.
People in areas affected by an orange alert are advised to stay away from bodies of water, to avoid driving down an even partially flooded road, to keep up to date with the situation and not to go down into basements or cellars.
You can find out more on the Météo France website.
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