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Storm Amelie pummels France with violent winds, downpours

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Bordeaux (AFP)

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

Fourteen of the country's 100-odd departments were placed on high alert as storm Amelie brought heavy rains to the Atlantic coast, with winds exceeding 160 kilometres (100 miles) per hour in places.

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

No deaths or injuries have been reported.

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 by the storm.

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

The southeast of France was not spared, with heavy rainfall forcing the evacuation of a gypsy camp. More than two dozen motorists had to be rescued as their cars got stuck in the deluge.

Several shops and homes in the southeast had their basements flooded.

burs-pbl/mlr/wdb

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