Storm Bella: France hit by snow, power cuts...and sea foam

Alerts for snow and flooding still remain after thousands of homes were left without power, cars became stuck in snow, and Brittany saw ‘sea foam’ in the streets

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France is still on alert for strong wind, storms, rain, flooding, snow and ice as Storm Bella continues, after having already left 34,000 homes without power, and caused “sea foam” to spread in Brittany.

The departments of Puy-de-Dôme and Cantal are on orange alert for ice and snow, while Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Gers are on orange alert for flooding from the Rivers Gers and Midouze.

A total of 63 departments are still on yellow alert for high wind, rain, flooding and storms.

Overnight, snow hit the Massif central at altitudes above 600-700m, with up to 50-70cm of snow falling in some areas, causing major disruption on the roads as cars became stuck in the drift.

Electricity cut

Across the country, almost 34,000 homes were left without power as Storm Bella hit, but electricity company Enedis said that this had been reduced to 10,000 by yesterday evening (Monday December 28), with engineers working to reconnect homes as soon as possible today, weather permitting.

An Enedis spokesperson said: “90% of clients that were affected by Storm Bella have been reconnected [especially in Normandy, Brittany, Picardie and Nord-Pas-de-Calais].

“But overnight, high snowfall and violent winds were also recorded in Auvergne and in the Limousin, causing negative effects across the network.”

Sea foam phenomenon

The inclement weather also caused the rare phenomenon of “sea foam” to hit the town of Saint-Guénolé in Finistère on December 27.

Foam from the rough seas collected on the coastline and was then picked up and spread across the town by the wind, causing foam to “rain down” in the streets and along the seafront, looking similar to snow as it covered the streets.

Continued disruption

Snow and rain are still expected from Grand Est to the Alps; along with wind of up to 70-80 kph on the coasts; plus storms, rain and wind further towards the south and southwest, and the Atlantic coast.

The Pyrenees and Massif Central are both expected to receive more snow, of around 5-15 cm; and flooding may occur in the south of Aquitaine.

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Storm Bella: Snow and flood alerts remain in France

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