Northern France has been swept by fierce storms that have killed six people, one woman dying in the centre of Paris when a tree fell on her car. Over a dozen have been injured, and 200 000 homes are without electricity, although EDF, the state-owned utility expects 90 percent of those cut off to have power back by lunchtime today.
Picardy was especially badly hit and emergency services were flooded with tens of thousands of calls as damage reports came in from towns and the countryside.
Cities like Amiens had roofs torn away and parks saw ancient trees scattered like straws. The Christmas market in Rouen was evacuated as chalet traders struggled trying to tie them down with ropes to stop them being blown away, and along the channel coast ships were sunk in harbours as huge waves crashed into the promenades, and flooding was reported inland, disrupting rail and road traffic.