A large quarter of north-west France is preparing to face, from this Wednesday evening, November 1st, the very strong autumn storm Ciaran. Gusts of up to 170 km per hour, heavy rain, flooding waves… Three departments are on red alert and populations are asked to stay at home.
The storm will hit the French coast during the night from Wednesday to Thursday, around midnight, according to the latest Météo-France bulletin. Finistère, Côtes-d’Armor and Manche will be placed on red alert, the maximum alert level from this Thursday 12:01 a.m.
The authorities have increased calls for caution. In the department of Finistère for example, which could be the most affected, on the tip of Brittany, the population is called upon to stay at home, in safety. On certain very exposed capes, gusts could reach 170 km/h. Tree falls are then to be expected. There, 650 firefighters will be mobilized instead of 250, three times more than normal.
Many other departments are also preparing for the storm’s arrival. Thirty departments will be placed on orange vigilance, from Gironde to the north of France, which corresponds approximately to the entire Atlantic coast and the Channel coast.
Respect the red vigilance
All regional trains in the northwest quarter will be stopped this Thursday, November 2, announced the SNCF. Brest Bretagne airport will close its doors this Wednesday at 5 p.m. to let the storm pass and will resume service on Thursday. Submersion waves of 8 to 10 meters could affect the Atlantic coast. The maritime prefecture therefore reminds the population to postpone their trips to the sea, and not to go to the coasts, either on foot or by car.
All these preventive measures are important, especially when vigilance is red. “ The population must take this red vigilance into account and absolutely stay at home. If people move, there is a risk of potentially having victims due to falling trees, for example. », Explains Patrick Chavada, of the National Federation of French Firefighters. Before adding: “ Preserving lives means avoiding going out. And we will wait quietly for the storm to pass. »
Local actors better prepared
France was hit in 1999 by the devastating storms Lothar and Martin. Patrick Chavada keeps these memories well in mind. But according to him, this time there is a lot more preparation. “ It’s true that in 1999, we were a little surprised. Now we have a lot more preparation. Weather services have refined their forecasts “, he maintains.
He specifies that local actors also know how to react better: “ Municipalities have taken stock of these climate changes. And I think that a good number of municipalities which are on red alert will activate their safeguard plan to have a watch at the town hall, with the technical services, the firefighters, the police forces. All this in order to be able to respond to the demands of the population. »