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Storm Amelie pummels France with violent winds, downpours

Representative image. Photograph:( Others )

AFP Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France Nov 03, 2019, 10.46 PM (IST)

Storm winds blasted southern France Sunday, whipping up giant ocean waves, uprooting trees and leaving some 140,000 people without electricity, authorities said. 

Emergency services attended hundreds of callouts as storm Amelie brought gusts that dropped trees on roads and railway tracks and tore loose live electrical cables.

No deaths have been confirmed, but a woman in her seventies was reported missing in southern Nice after a landslide near her house.

In the southwest, which was worst affected, three people sustained minor injuries, mainly caused by falling branches.

Early Sunday, 14 of the country's 100-odd departments had been placed on high alert as Amelie brought heavy rains to the Atlantic coast, with winds exceeding 160 kilometres per hour in places.

Weather service Meteo 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 for hours. 

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

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

The southeast was not spared, with heavy rainfall forcing the evacuation of a travellers' camp.

More than two dozen motorists also had to be rescued as their cars got stuck in the deluge and several shops and homes had their basements flooded.