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Northern France on alert for storms after heatwave
Violent storms are set to hit northern France File photo: Philippe Huguen

Northern France on alert for storms after heatwave

Sophie Inge · 23 Jul 2013, 14:15

Published: 23 Jul 2013 09:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Jul 2013 14:15 GMT+02:00

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France's weather service Metéo France called for vigilance in 36 departments in the north of the country on Tuesday with violent storms and hail showers forecast. 

The 36 departments are placed on orange alert, and if Monday's storm in Normandy is anything to go by then the north of the country is in for some rough weather over the next few days.

Météo France says the storms will be localised and the warnings will remain in place until Wednesday morning.

"These storms can be accompanied by hail, heavy rain and also gusts of wind that may exceed the 100 km / h," warns Météo France.

Initially 21 departments were placed on alert in the regions of Haute-Normandie, Ile-de-France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardie plus the departments of Ardennes, Aube, Eure-et-Loir, Loiret, Marne and Yonne. Later another 15 departments in the east of the country were added to the list. To see a map of which area of the country is affected by storm warnings CLICK HERE.

The Normandy city of Caen was plunged into chaos on Monday evening when it was hit by a violent electric storm that left several injured and caused widespread flooding and disruption to local services.

Patients at the Bon Sauveur hospital and commuters at the local railway station had to be evacuated over fears that the roofs may collapse.

The retail industry was also badly hit when 500 people had to be evacuated from the Leclerc shopping centre as well as other shops and businesses. Stocks at the complex were left lying ten-centimetres deep in water and as a result staff risk being laid off.

The local County Court and Museum of Fine Arts was also flooded, although Jean-Simon Merandat, the chief constable at the police headquarters said that “no works of art were damaged”.

“We’re gradually returning to normal. A crisis unit was established in the police station at 5:45pm,” Merandat was quoted as saying by RTL, adding that some roads had been flooded by up to one metre.

A weather alert remained in place on Tuesday with authorities warning residents not to make any unnecessary journeys.

Last night traffic was returning to normal in the area but there are still disruptions to public transport, including two tram lines which have been suspended for security reasons.

Story continues below…

The storm in Normandy may be a sign of what is to come for the rest of France, which has been basking in the sun or baking in it depending on whether you are on the Riviera or in Paris.

Temperatures in the recent heatwave peaked on Monday but are not set to last. By the weekend the same storms that hit Normandy are forecast to move south, meaning beachgoers at Paris Plages could be in for a wet weekend. (See map below)

On Tuesday there will be some relief with temperatures expected to fall in western France, according to Météo France, and more “reasonable” temperatures expected until the end of the week.

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

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