Western France placed on storm and flood alert

Much of the west and south west of France remained on alert on Tuesday with storms and heavy rain expected to hit the region, just a day after hailstorms wreaked havoc for wine growers in one part of the country.

Western France placed on storm and flood alert
Photo: Bruce Guenter

Météo France, the country’s weather service place 11 departments in the south west and west of France on Orange alert on Tuesday, with heavy rain and storms expected to hit the region.

It comes a day after Paris and the south west of France were hit by storms, which were accompanied by gales, hail storms, downpours and fork lightning.

The 12 departments that remain on alert ( see map) are Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sevres, Dordogne, Gers, Gironde, Haute Pyrénées, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Vienne and Haute-Garonne, where Méteo France says there is a high risk of flooding.

Residents in those departments can expect similar violent storms to those seen in Paris on Monday.

Fire fighters in the French capital were bombarded with around 1,200 emergency calls, mostly concerning flooding caused by the downpours of fires sparked by the lightning.

The storms, the likes of which are more akin to the tropics than western Europe, caused widespread damage in the department of Touraine in central France, which had not been placed on Orange Alert on Monday.

Particularly affected were vineyard owners in the Vouvray who saw several hectares of vines ruined in just  a matter of minutes by hailstones, the size of ping pong balls.

“It’s a catastrophe, the storm lasted ten minutes and destroyed everything,” Christian Feray, manager at the Château de Montcontour told Europe1 radio.

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South west France on red alert for flooding

Five areas in south west France have been placed on a red weather alert for flooding as storms lash the region.

South west France on red alert for flooding
Storms are moving in to south west France over the Pyrenees. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Météo France has placed five départements in south west France – Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège – on a red weather alert for heavy rains and flooding.

Extremely heavy rainstorms have hit the area, with a band of storm clouds travelling along the Pyrenees, bringing the risk of avalanches in the mountains and flooding in lowland areas.

The neighbouring département of Pyrénées-Orientale is on orange alert, along with the principality of Andorra. In the north, Aisne is also on orange alert for heavy rain.

Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, gradually easing off towards the evening, although the flood alerts remain in place until Tuesday.