storm amalie france floods
© Iroz Gaizka, AFP
A man runs by the sea in the Grande Plage of Biarritz in south western France on November 3, 2019, during Storm Amelie
Storm Amelie caused high winds to blast southwest France on Sunday, whipping up giant ocean waves, uprooting trees and leaving some 140,000 people without electricity, authorities said.

Fourteen of the country's 101 departments were placed on high alert as storm Amelie brought heavy rains to the Atlantic coast, with winds exceeding 160 kilometres per hour in places. Emergency services attended to hundreds of callouts as gusts dropped trees on roads and railway tracks, and tore loose live electrical cables.

By midday, rescue services and prefectures had reported only three minor injuries - including one hospitalisation - in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, mainly due to falling branches.


france amelie giant waves storm
© AFP / Damien Meyer
Waves break over the "Phare du four" (lighthouse) off the western city of Rosporden on November 2, 2019 a few hours before the storm Amelie.
Weather service Météo-France said winds as strong as 163 km/h were recorded in the coastal departments of Gironde and Landes, and 121 km/h in Bordeaux.

Electricity supplier Enedis said it was working round the clock to restore electricity to some 140,000 customers left without power by the storm.

In the Landes department, 47 people had to be evacuated from a camp site, and a casino roof collapsed.


Several trains in the area were cancelled or delayed, according to the SNCF railway operator.

The southeast of France was not spared, with heavy rainfall forcing the evacuation of a gypsy camp. More than two dozen motorists had to be rescued as their cars got stuck in the deluge.

Several shops and homes in the southeast had their basements flooded.