VIDEO: Extreme weather wreaks havoc in France

VIDEO: Extreme weather caused a number of incidents across France at the weekend that saw thousands left without power, houses hit by lightning and a mini tornado hit Dieppe (see video). Three departments remained on storm alert on Monday morning.

VIDEO: Extreme weather wreaks havoc in France
A street light and branches fall on a car in Nice, French Riviera, following violent storms overnight in southern France. Valery Hache/AFP
The summer weather continued to make headlines in France at the weekend after extreme conditions provoked a number of serious incidents, some of which proved fatal. After a recent heatwave violent electronic storms battered various parts of the country and left  thousands without electricity. 
Here's a round up of the main weather related incidents including the tragic death of seven people in the Mediterranean sea, the emergency evacuation of campers and a mini-tornado in Normandy:
  • On Monday morning three departments remained under orange alert in eastern France for storms: Savoie, Haute-Savoie and Isère. Alerts have now been lifted for the southern departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Drôme and Vaucluse.
  • The south-central department of Ardèche and the Côte d’Azur in the south east experienced heavy rainfall in the early hours of this morning. 
  • A total of 15 people drowned in seas, rivers and lakes across France over the weekend including seven men in the Mediterranean due to dangerous high winds and strong currents. Police said swimmers were routinely ignoring safety warnings.
  • On Sunday TF1 reported that 220,000 homes in the south-western regions of Charente, Charente-Maritime and the northern areas of Normandy and Aveyron and Champagne-Ardenne were without electricity as a result of the storms. Internet and phone connections were also affected, according to the network Orange. By Sunday evening 25,000 homes were still without power. ERDF said it expected the situation to return to normal on Monday morning.
  • In the northern city of Dieppe there were even reports of a “mini-tornado”, that was captured on camera by one witness.
  • 200 campers in three camp sites were evacuated in the south-central department of Ardèche after 70mm of rain fell within the space of one hour.
  • 30 people were injured, six of them seriously when a marquee collapsed in the north-eastern commune of Joinville on Sunday as a result of the storms.
  • Hours earlier, a postman in the western city of Nantes was struck by lightning. He remains in “stable but critical condition”, according to AFP.
  • In the south-western commune of Pauillac a 70-year-old woman was seriously injured on Saturday after a church clock collapsed, crushing her house.
  • Meanwhile in southern France residents experienced a different kind of meteorological nightmare. As temperatures soared to 40°C, Nice Matin reported that residents in a block of flats in the city were sweltering when they were unable to turn off their central heating. 
  • On Monday morning the Riviera resort of Nice was hit by torrential rain. (See the video below).

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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.