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France, Britain hit by record winds of Storm Ciaran

RENNES (AFP) – Storm Ciaran battered northern France with record winds of nearly 200 kilometres (km) per hour killing a lorry driver as southern England remained on high alert yesterday and rail operators in several countries warned of traffic disruptions.

The death was caused by a tree falling on the cabin of a heavy goods vehicle in the Aisne department, emergency services told AFP.

Some 1.2 million homes lost electricity overnight as the storm lashed France’s northwest coast, ripping trees out of the ground.

“The wind gusts are exceptional in Brittany and many absolute records have been broken,” the national weather service Meteo-France said on X. It said winds of 193kph had been recorded in Plougonvelin on the northwest coast, while the port city of Brest in Brittany saw gusts of 156kph.

Three French departments – Finistere, Cotes-d’Armor and Manche – were placed on red storm alert, the highest level, at midnight, though this was downgraded to orange early yesterday in some areas.

In Cornwall in southern England, large waves powered by winds of 85 miles per hour (mph), crashed along the coastline yesterday morning, while hundreds of schools in the area were closed.

On the Channel Island of Jersey, residents had to be evacuated to hotels overnight as wind gusts of up to 102mph damaged homes, according to local media.

A red warning was in place on the island and all flights were cancelled on the islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney.

“Large waves and onshore gales brought by Storm Ciaran could see significant flooding along parts of the south coast and along parts of the Yorkshire and Northeast coasts on Thursday,” said flood duty manager at Britain’s Environment Agency Ben Lukey.

Municipal employees cut and move fallen trees in Ile Tudy, France. PHOTO: AFP
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