Page last updated at 21:52 GMT, Saturday, 24 January 2009

In pictures: Storm hits France and Spain

People walk under heavy rain in Biarritz, France, 24 January

The strongest storms for a decade in northern Spain and south-west France have wrought widespread destruction.

Part of a roof structure lies across a car following a storm in Toulouse, France

Winds of up to 172km/h (107mph) struck the Atlantic coast and spread inland.

Firemen clear a street covered in broken branches in Toulouse, France

More than 1.5 million homes in France were without electricity, and rail and air services were suspended in many areas.

Public roads workers clear the road in the French city of Blagnac

Hundreds of technicians were deployed to try to restore power to residents but thousands of fallen trees blocked roads, hampering their efforts.

A man inspects a tree split in half during a storm in Toulouse, France

Weather agencies had forecast the storms but a wider area than anticipated was hit.

A couple battles high winds in the Basque town of San Sebastian, northern Spain

Residents in affected areas in both countries were warned to stay indoors for their own safety.

Flooding from the River Dropt near Bergerac, France (image: David Hodge)

BBC News website reader David Hodge sent this picture of flooding from the River Dropt near Bergerac, France. "It started at around 0330 with a really wild wind," he says.

Tiles blown off a roof in Pessac, near the French city of Bordeaux (image: Pat Davey)

Pat Davey in Pessac, near the French city of Bordeaux, sent us this photo of tiles blown off a roof.

A forest fire started  by an electricity pylon felled by gales in La Nucia, Spain (image: Duncan Oldham)

Duncan Oldham in La Nucia, near the Spanish resort of Benidorm, snapped a forest fire started by an electricity pylon felled by gales.

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