According to French electricity grid operator Enedis, winter storm Zeus which unleashed hurricane-force winds across much of southern France, has left more than 600,000 French households without power as of 4pm on Monday. The company's website advises that the power cuts have affected 175,000 customers in Brittany, 190,000 in Auvergne Rhone Alpes, 130,000 in Nouvelle Aquitaine, 80,000 in Pays de Loire, and the company advises that more than 3,500 technicians from Enedis are working in the field to deal with “very major” storm damage.
Earlier in the day, The Local reported that weather warnings are in place for large swathes of France as wind speeds hit over 190km/hr on Monday. National weather agency Météo France updated the number of departments on orange alert to 31 on Monday morning, as fierce winds lashed much of the country. The town of Camaret, in Brittany, already saw record winds of 193km/hr during Monday morning, reported Europe 1 radio.
An orange alert is the second highest alert on the agency's scale, and urges residents to be vigilant.
Winds are expected to reach up to 150km/hr on Brittany's coastline and 120km/hr inland. Heavy rainfall has been predicted in some areas too. The agency said that residents could expect "significant damage" caused by the wind and disruptions to local traffic.
It warned that there was a possibility of cuts to electricity and telephone lines, and as noted above, this is precisely what has happened. The agency warned residents in affected areas to stay off the rooftops and to secure objects that are liable to be blown away.
Elswhere, the entire island of Corsica was issued an orange alert for flood risks as well as "particularly strong winds". Residents were told to avoid getting too close to the sea, or indeed anywhere that was already flooded. The warnings are in place until Tuesday at 10am.