I imagine everybody in the expat blogging circles is posting about the storm that hit France yesterday. Here in our part of Aveyron, we experienced a mix of rain, flooding and windstorms followed by a blizzard, leaving in their wake surreal scenes like the one above.
The French media says that 1.7 million homes lost power during yesterday's storm. All trains in and out of Rodez were cancelled. Here in Aveyron, the papers say the lights went out in 17,000 homes at about 6pm yesterday. I noticed the lights flicker at precisely that time...there but for the grace of God...
My husband and I actually had braved the elements Saturday afternoon and gone into Rodez, not really knowing that roof tiles and even major hunks of scaffolding from the cathedral were flying around the city. The BBC reports:
"Another reader, Simon Ritchie, witnessed the damage wrought by the storm in the French town of Rodez.
'This morning, I awoke to the sound of very strong winds and lashing rain or hail,' he said.
'I looked out of my kitchen's skylight window to see scaffolding and sheets or corrugated iron blowing of the adjacent cathedral. One such sheet blew about 50 yards from the tower and landed on a car below, smashing it in completely.'
'People were screaming on the street below, and bits of masonry and scaffolding continued to fall,' he added.
We drove home from town in blizzard conditions, still with no real knowledge of everything that had been happening on le piton, as the town center of Rodez is called.
This morning, things looked so peaceful in our area that no one would have suspected that snow had been whipping vertically against village homes and buildings throughout the previous afternoon.
We didn't get the worst of this storm. We were lucky.