Storm Eleanor batters Europe

People surrounded by floating sea foam on the Brittany coast after Storm Eleanor hit Saint-Guenole in western France on Wednesday. Eleanor, the fourth winter storm to hit Europe since last month, swept into the continent on Wednesday after battering
People surrounded by floating sea foam on the Brittany coast after Storm Eleanor hit Saint-Guenole in western France on Wednesday. Eleanor, the fourth winter storm to hit Europe since last month, swept into the continent on Wednesday after battering Britain and Ireland. It has killed at least three people and played havoc with air, rail and road transport.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • The French Alps were on maximum avalanche alert yesterday after Storm Eleanor swept through Europe, killing at least three people, grounding planes and fanning wildfires in Corsica.

With the mountains packed with skiers for the school holidays, major resort Val d'Isere closed its runs until at least midday, while Chamonix to the south said it was shutting many of its lifts as a precautionary measure.

At the other extreme, firefighters on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica were battling two blazes fanned by Eleanor's strong gusts of wind yesterday morning, with three people injured in fires overnight.

Eleanor, the fourth winter storm to hit Europe since last month, swept into the continent on Wednesday after battering Britain and Ireland. It has left three people dead - a 21-year-old skier hit by a falling tree in France and a couple in their 60s swept away on Spain's northern Basque coast by a huge wave.

In France, 29 people have been injured - four of them seriously - including a woman hit by a falling block of concrete. At Lenk in central Switzerland, eight people were hurt when a violent gust of wind overturned a railway carriage.

The whole of Spain's northern coast remained on "orange" alert - the second highest on a four-point scale - because of the risk from strong winds and large waves.

Much of eastern France was still on "orange" alert for heavy winds, floods and avalanches yesterday, and some 29,000 French homes remained without power, a third of them in Corsica.

The storm had delayed departures from Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and played havoc with road and rail transport, leaving branches, electrical lines and other debris strewn across tracks and highways.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2018, with the headline 'Storm Eleanor batters Europe'. Print Edition | Subscribe