High winds, waves and tides lash Britain's coast

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Associated Press

Posted on January 3, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 3 at 10:06 AM

LONDON (AP) — High winds, waves and tides lashed the western coasts of Britain and France on Friday, flooding seaside towns and low-lying areas.

Wales, southwest England and Northern Ireland were the worst-hit U.K. regions by the latest in a recent series of extreme winter storms. Parts of northwestern France also suffered flooding.

A combination of heavy rain, winds gusting up to 90 mph (144 kph) and exceptionally high tides sent water flooding Friday into several British seaside towns. Some western rivers also burst their banks.

The U.K. Environment Agency issued eight severe flood warnings — meaning there is a threat to life and property — as well as almost 400 less serious flood warnings and alerts. That was down from 14 severe warnings earlier in the day.

Floods also washed over parts of northwestern France, as heavy rains coupled with unusually high tides left the streets of some coastal towns underwater.

Finistere — a French region jutting out into the Atlantic whose name roughly translates as "Land's End" — was under high alert Friday for flooding. In town of Quimperle, further south along the Brittany coast, shops and homes were evacuated as the Laita River overflowed its banks.

The storm follows severe weather in early December and over Christmas that also hit western Europe.

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