Storm Ciaran sweeps northwest France, first damage

Three departments in the North West have gradually entered red alert since midnight to deal with Storm Ciaran which has reached the tip of Brittany in the evening, causing its first damage and causing one minor injury.

• Read also: A tip of north-west Europe will face Storm Ciaran

Finisterre went on red wind watch at midnight. The Côtes-d’Armor will follow at 2am and the Manche an hour later.

In Morbihan, gusts of nearly 140 km/ha were recorded on the island of Groix, Morbihan prefecture said, reporting around a hundred fallen trees and the collapse of a restaurant roof of Arzon.

Finisterre deplores a minor injury following a traffic accident caused by the fall of a tree in Plouédern, specifies the prefecture.

By the end of the evening, the firefighters had intervened thirty times and forty people were evacuated as a precaution, among the inhabitants of twenty houses in Treffiagat, following the weakening of the dune ridge in the area during the high tide of last weekend

The prefecture also reports on X “cuts and downed power lines”.

According to Ouest-France, planes in difficulty over Nantes airport due to winds eventually diverted to Toulouse.

Emmanuel Macron joined on Wednesday evening the many messages from the authorities calling for caution in the face of this climatic event. “Don’t risk it. Stay home and check on your loved ones in isolation,” he wrote on social media.

The winds, which have hit Brittany since midnight, could reach 170 km/h in gusts in the Brittany tip and the Cotentin in the following hours. They could fly up to 150 km/h inland. Waves of eight to ten meters are expected along the Atlantic coast.

The number of departments that will be put on orange watch, for swell-submergence, wind or rain-flood, has increased from 17 to 31.

Among the new departments classified in orange is part of Ille-de-France, including Paris, due to violent winds.

The entire coast from Pas-de-Calais to the Pyrénées-Atlantiques is now on orange alert for high waves for Thursday, as are Bouches-du-Rhône, the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes. Southern Corsica is also on orange alert for storms and flooding from rain.

According to Arnaud Wilm, spokesman for Public Security interviewed by BFMTV, 12,500 firefighters are prepositioned in France to deal with Ciaran.

“Heavyweights Banned”

Almost everywhere along the coast, calls for caution, especially for walkers and boaters, have increased.

In particular, due to the risk of falling trees due to violent winds, the transport sector will operate slowly on Thursday in the west of the country.

“On the road front, we have taken measures through the prefectures to prohibit the movement of heavy goods vehicles (…) This will continue throughout the day on Thursday, especially throughout the Brittany region,” he said the Minister of Transport. Clement Beaune.

The Ministry of the Interior then clarified that Ille-et-Vilaine, on orange alert, was not affected by this traffic ban.

The SNCF announced that it foresees “preventive stoppages of rail traffic” on Thursday morning on part of the RER A, several Transilien lines (L, J, U and partially N) and the T13 tram.

The airports of Brest and Quimper, in particular, “will not be in service between the end of the afternoon and at least tomorrow morning”, he added.

As for trains, TER traffic in Brittany, Normandy, Alts-de-France, Pays de Loire and Centre-Val de Loire will be interrupted from Wednesday evening to Friday morning. As for the TGVs, if 90% of them pass, traffic will be interrupted on the Paris-Le Mans and Paris-Nantes axes.

In addition to the winds, Météo-France is worried about a “rainy episode that gives significant amounts of precipitation in a short time on already saturated soils”, with in particular possible falls of trees that are still very leafy.

“Powerful Waves”

The meteorological agency also warns that the storm will cause a “remarkable wave submersion phenomenon (…) The breaking of large and powerful waves, associated with a relatively high sea level, requires special vigilance”.

These submersible waves are particularly devastating on the coast where careless walkers are regularly swept away.

In Biarritz (Atlantic Pyrenees) the wave submersion warning system has been deployed on the coast.

At the peak of the alert, scheduled for Thursday between 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. in this city, access to beaches, promenades and premises facing the sea will be prohibited, as well as water activities. A continuous line of protective sandbags, called “big bags”, has been launched.

Britain is also preparing for Ciaran’s arrival, including the south-west tip and Wales.

Extreme weather phenomena (cyclones, heat waves, floods, droughts, etc.) are natural phenomena. But global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity can amplify them.

More specifically, wave submersion phenomena on coasts are at risk of becoming more dangerous with sea level rise linked to ice melt, especially during storms.