Carmen Storm: Orange Alert Maintained in Corsica and Gironde, Alert Lifted Elsewhere

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Carmen storm swept across France on New Years Day

Carmen storm which largely swept France on Monday 1st January 2018. Corsica and Gironde are kept in orange alert. Update on the first storm of the year.

Wind gusts over 130 km/h and waves of 5 meters: after Brittany, the Carmen storm swept Monday afternoon the Aquitaine coast, with a heavy swell in the Gironde and the Basque coast, but without causing major damage.

21 departments remained however on orange alert Monday afternoon. In the last weather forecast at 7pm of Meteo-France, only the departments of Gironde, Haute-Horse and Corse-du-Sud remained on orange alert.

Due to storm Carmen, Météo France has maintained the Gironde and Corsica on orange alert
Due to storm Carmen, Météo France has maintained the Gironde and Corsica orange alert. (Capture © Météo France)

65,000 Homes without Power

Carmen, the third winter storm after Ana and Bruno in December, reached the Atlantic coast Monday morning but Sunday already, when the wind began to blow, a man in his sixties was killed by a falling tree in his car near Saint-Jean-Pied-de- Port, in Pyrénées-Atlantiques .

Of the 40,000 homes without power in Brittany on  Monday morning, 30,000 were restored by 3.30pm, according to Enedis which has commissioned a thousand officers in the field.


However 65,000 households in total remained without electricity late afternoon in Brittany and also Poitou-Charentes, Aquitaine and Pays de Loire.

A wind Turbine falls in the Vendée

In Vendée, a wind turbine of 62 meters high crashed in Bouin, severed at the base under the power of the wind.

Carmen storm caused the fall of a wind turbine at Bouin, Vendee
Carmen storm caused the fall of a wind turbine at Bouin, Vendee. (© Helen Pincemin)

Sables d’Olonne, the large crowd had gathered on the edge of the ocean, as shown in this video of the Journal des Sables .

Waves of 5 meters on the Basque coast

In Gironde , from 11 am Monday, 725 firefighters were mobilized. At Soulac, at 5pm, coastal streets were covered with sand blown by the storm, and waves of 3 to 4 meters surged without reaching the buildings of the waterfront, said a journalist of AFP.

On the Basque coast in Anglet , where the beaches are closed, a correspondent for the AFP was observed waves of 5 meters. Beach Closures also in Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz , with waves of 5 meters in places. The orange alert wave submersion is maintained in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, where gusts did not exceed 70-80 km/h. But they could strengthen before the expected lull to 9pm.

The coincidence of Carmen passage with high tide coefficients (97 to the open sea Monday afternoon) raised fears of marine flooding phenomena on the parties’ exposed or vulnerable, “the coast including New Aquitaine.

In Charente-Maritime, 7,000 homes were without electricity around 5pm but firefighters have lamented no major damage if not “flooded basements and damaged roofs.” In this department, the weather alert has been brought to the yellow level from 4pm. At the sea (La Rochelle 4.17 pm.) “two floods were located in the estuaries of the Gironde and Charente”, according to the prefecture.

Soon Corsica

“This is a storm that shifts from west to east, the storm winds initially affect the departments of the Atlantic coast. Then, in the course of the day, they will spread from the southwest to the Massif Central, in the evening and the next night, it is rather Corsica that will be affected, “explained to AFP Patrick Galois, forecaster at Meteo-France.

With the prospect of “violent” wind gusts up to 150 km/h in places, Meteo France had announced the forecast on Monday of 40 departments on orange alert “wind” and / or “wave-submersion”. At 4.45pm the orange alert has been reduced to 21 departments: Allier, Ariege, Aveyron, Cantal, Charente Maritime Corse-du-Sud, Corsica, Finistère, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Gironde, Landes, Loire-Atlantique, lot, Morbihan, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrenees, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne and Vendee.

The end of the event is scheduled for Tuesday at 6pm.

No region spared

In the departments of the Atlantic coast, the weather risks have led many municipalities to cancel events planned by the sea, including bathroom New Year that have been cancelled or postponed, such as Anglet (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), reprogrammed for the 7th January.

The mayor of La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime) canceled the prom New Year scheduled Monday night on the Old Port and the city of Biarritz (Pyrenees-Atlantiques) banned access to beaches until Tuesday.

No region should be spared by the wind, which would also affect the Alps and the Mediterranean.

Corsica, in particular, will be the target of “a strong wind in the evening and during the following night,” according to Meteo France, citing “certainly higher than 140 km/h gusts” on the  l’Ile de Beauté.

The instructions to be observed when winds are limiting his movements, adapting its speed drive, to watch out for falling objects, to avoid walking on coastal and forest areas.

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