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 50,000 homes across the country were without
electricity by 1730 GMT on Christmas Day due to ruptured power
lines and widespread flooding in the northwestern Brittany
region, said France's ERDF power distributor.
Repair work by some 2,000 technicians throughout the day
restored power to some 70,000 homes.
The international airport at Nice remained shut, with all
but a few incoming and outgoing flights cancelled until at least
2200 GMT due to poor visibility and conditions on the runway,
interim director Valerie Wack said.
"Only sixteen planes were able to take off today," she said.
"The airlines are deciding case-by-case whether it's possible to
Hurricane-force winds have lashed France and Britain,
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 Brittany and a small part of southeastern
France but declared other regions mostly calm.
However, it warned a new storm front could hit northern
France and Britain on Friday, with hurricane-force winds that
are expected to sweep over Ireland, northern Britain and the
western coast of Norway.
(Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Pravin Char and