Winds gusting up to hurricane force battered west and central France on Monday, leaving two people dead and 600,000 homes without electricity, the authorities said. Storm Zeus - named after the paramount god in Greek mythology - hit the Atlantic coast before sweeping across to the centre and south-east of the country. Weather experts said they measured gusts of up to 193kmh in the west. The driver of a lorry carrying gas canisters was killed when a falling branch hit his vehicle in the southern French Alps while a motorist in the south-west died when his car was struck by a 20m-tall tree. Seven young people were injured in the west and south-west by falling debris, with three seriously injured. Some 600,000 properties lost electricity, according to power distributor Enedis, the highest such number since a monster storm in 1999 that left scores dead and three million households without power. Pounding rain also forced the closure of a motorway to Paris, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement.