Storm batters southern France, Christmas flights cancelled
PARIS Dec 25 (Reuters) - Powerful winds and torrential rain swept southern France on Wednesday, grounding flights and cutting off power to tens of thousands of homes.
About 120,000 homes across the country were without electricity on Christmas Day due to ruptured power lines and widespread flooding in the northwestern Brittany region, said France's ERDF power distributor.
The international airport at Nice was shut, with all incoming and outgoing flights cancelled until at least 1200 GMT due to poor visibility on the runway, a spokesman said.
Hurricane-force winds lashed France and Britain on Tuesday, causing five deaths in Britain and one in France. Heavy downpours led to cancellations of rail, flight and ferry services. Thousands of Britons woke up to flooding and power cuts on Wednesday.
The storm had subsided in the north of France on Wednesday but continued to batter southeastern France and the Mediterranean coastline, though winds were less powerful.
Meteo France, the national weather office, maintained an "Orange" alert level for weather-related danger - its second-highest - in parts of Brittany and southeastern France but declared other regions mostly calm.
It warned of powerful gusts in the Pyrenees mountain range and the possibility of high waves along the Mediterranean coast. (Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Pravin Char)
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