Storms ground French flights, knock out power
POWERFUL winds and torrential rain have swept southern France, grounding flights and cutting off power to tens of thousands of homes.
About 50,000 homes across the country were without electricity by 5.30pm on Christmas Day due to ruptured power lines and widespread flooding in the north-western Brittany region, said France's ERDF power distributor.
Nice international airport remained shut, with all but a few flights cancelled until at least 10pm, due to poor visibility and conditions on the runway, interim director Valerie Wack said.
Hurricane-force winds have lashed France and Britain, causing five deaths in the UK and one across the Channel.
Meteo France, the national weather office, warned a new storm front could hit northern France and Britain on Friday, with hurricane-force winds expected to sweep over Ireland, northern Britain and the west of Norway.