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Storm Ciara lashes France, leaves trail of destruction

PARIS, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) — High winds ripped through the northern and eastern regions of France on Sunday night and Monday morning, causing several casualties and thousands of homes to lose power, according to local media reports.

Eleven people were injured after Storm Ciara with gusts of more than 130 kilometers per hour had hit the Atlantic coast of France, according to local broadcaster Europe 1.

Pictures published on social media showed that trees had crashed down and roofs of buildings had been blown off by Ciara, dubbed as a “strong winter storm.” The powerful winds had caused problems across the country’s railway network after fallen power lines and trees blocked the tracks, the report said.

The storm also affected air traffic. About 50 flights to and from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport were canceled on Sunday, while another Paris airport, Beauvais, had suspended all traffic until Monday morning. Shipping movements between the Port of Calais and Britain’s Port of Dover were suspended “until further notice,” according to the report.

Some 90,000 homes were without power after the overnight storm lashed the regions of Bretagne, Normandie, Hauts-de-France, Grand Est and Ile-de-France.

The national weather agency Meteo France on Monday warned that strong winds may hit many areas in the north and west of France, placing 13 departments on orange alert, the second highest alert on the agency’s scale. The agency urged residents to be vigilant. Winds are expected to reach up to 160 kilometers per hour in these regions and large waves may hit the country’s coastal areas until Tuesday evening.

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