Storms knocked down trees and disrupted the power supply in southwestern France, with floodwaters reportedly rising by 30 centimeters (1 foot) every hour in some areas on Saturday.
A 70-year-old man died after driving into a tree knocked down by the wind. Five other people were injured when trees fell on their vehicles on Friday. Another elderly man was swept away by rising waters in southwest region Lot-et-Garonne while he was fetching his mail. He remains missing.
Authorities preemptively evacuated some 600 people from the area of Landes where Gaves de Pau and Oloron meet.
“We are getting used to this now,” a local pensioner who gave his name as Christian told the AFP news agency. “We put everything on the upper levels, and we clear out everything from the garage.”
Utility company Enedis said that 25,000 homes were still without power on Saturday evening, adding that 2,000 technicians were deployed to deal with the problem.
Wind speed reached 142 kilometers (88 miles) per hour on the mainland on Friday. Even higher wind speeds of 175 kilometers per hour were measured on the island of Corsica.
By Saturday, however, weather service Meteo France downgraded the alert level in most of the affected areas from the highest of red to orange.
The latest storms come less than three weeks after several people lost their lives due to bad weather in Italy and France.
dj/sms (AFP, dpa)
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