18,000 homes without power as Storm Bella sweeps through France

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More than 18,000 French homes were without power Sunday as Storm Bella crossed into France from the British Isles, uprooting trees and bringing violent winds of 136km/h to the country's north-west.

Worst affected was Brittany, where electricity was cut to more than 6,600 homes, although no major damage was reported.

Seven departments have been put on orange alert for risks associated with violent winds, snow and potential flooding.

The rest of the country, with the exception of five departments bordering the western Mediterranean, is on yellow alert.

Residents have been warned that dangerous gusts of wind, which were also felt in Paris, would be blowing over the north-western half of the country, and then from the south-west to the north-east in the evening – particularly along the coasts.

Traffic conditions are expected to become difficult, especially near forested areas, where falling trees increase the risk of accidents.

The Paris Town Hall announced that all gardens and parks would be closed on Sunday for safety reasons.

The storm is forecast to continue until Monday morning.