A storm that battered northwestern France overnight was lashing Britain on Thursday with heavy rains and strong winds that the country’s weather agency warned could pose a “danger to life.”
The storm, given the name Ciarán (pronounced kee-RAHN), pummeled France’s Atlantic coast with record-breaking winds — gusts of about 120 miles per hour were recorded in parts of Brittany, and some 1.2 million customers were left without power — before moving into the Channel Islands.
Britain’s weather agency issued an “amber warning,” its second-highest level of alert, for parts of southern England, saying that winds expected to exceed 85 miles per hour in some areas could create a “danger to life.” The Coast Guard warned people to “stay away from the water’s edge,” and the Port of Dover suspended “all sailings” because of the adverse conditions.
On the island of Jersey, schools were shuttered, the airport was closed and more than 30 homes were evacuated as the local government declared the storm a “major incident.” Wind gusts of 93 miles per hour were recorded there on Thursday morning, according to Britain’s weather agency, the Met Office.
The winds and heavy rains knocked out power in some parts of Britain, affecting about 9,000 properties in the southwest as of Thursday morning, according to National Grid, the country’s main electricity network operator.
The weather was also affecting travel. Southeastern Railways warned of severe disruptions to its lines and urged travelers to work from home. In a statement, London North Eastern Railway did the same.
Although it is difficult to attribute individual weather events directly to climate change, scientists say that a warming planet worsens extreme rainfall in many storms.
Two weeks ago, Storm Babet wreaked havoc on Scotland with heavy rains and widespread flooding that left at least three people dead.