PARIS Dec 25 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)