Storms and Floods in North West France

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The stormy weather currently battering Ireland and the UK has also affected north west France, bringing floods to areas of the region including Brittany, Ille-et-Vilaine, Finistère and Loire-Atlantique. The severe weather has continued to threaten communities across north west France since mid December. On 1 January 2014, a woman was killed in Morbihan by a falling tree in strong winds.

Heavy rainfall left river levels dangerously high, in particular the rivers Morlaix, Laïta, Blavet, Oust and Vilaine, where orange level flood alerts remain.

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Floods in Brittany, France, January 2014. Photo:

Local emergency services responded to hundreds of calls, especially in Finistère. Over 50 houses have been severely flooding with water levels up to around 1.5 metres in the Châteaulin commune in Finistère. Quimperlé, Morlaix and Landerneau also saw severe flooding over the last few days. In fact Quimperlé was hit once again by flooding on Sunday, 5 January, when the coastal river Laïta broke it banks.

High tides and strong winds have meant crashing waves along the coastline of the area, with some coastal flooding, but also dune collapses and damage to the coastlines of Morbihan and Finistère, in particular in ​​Concarneau. Many business properties in the resort town of La Baule in Loire-Atlantique have been severely damaged or destroyed by waves, strong winds and floods. The Gironde coast has also been affected by the storm, where dunes were damaged at Soulac-sur-Mer.

Although the high tides are expected to recede, further wind and heavy rainfall is still a likelihood. Brittany has seen almost constant heavy rainfall since mid December, with levels standing at around 2.5 times higher than average for this period.

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Floods in Brittany, January 2014. Photo:

yesterday (Sunday 5 January 2014) an inflatable dam was put up in Pontivy, Brittany, to help protect against further flooding there. The dam is made up of two tubes, filled with air, then water for stabilitiy. The tubes are around 1.2m wide and 2.5 m high. The dam stretches around 180 metres along two major street in the town. According to Ouest France, this is the first time such inflatable dams have been used in France.

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Inflatable Dam. Photo: Ouest France

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Sources: Le Figaro; Le Parisien