France placed on alert for violent storms

France is set for more violent storms this weekend with the country’s weather service issuing alerts on Friday for 30 departments across the country.

France placed on alert for violent storms
Storms caused widespread damage in Nice earlier this week. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

For the second time in a matter of weeks a mini-heatwave in France is set to be brought to an abrupt end by electric storms.

After two days of sweltering weather, which saw the mercury rise to the highest level so far this year, storms are set to return across the country on Friday evening.

The country’s weather service Météo France has issued storm warnings for 30 departments from the south west, through the centre of the country to the north east.

“This situation requires a particular vigilance due to strong possibility of violent storms,” said Météo France in a statement.

Gale force winds are expected as well as hail storms and heavy rain. 

The storms are set to first hit the Gironde region of south west France before heading inland through Limousin and then to the north of the country.

Among the departments placed on Orange alert for storms by Météo France are:  Aisne, Allier, Cher, Côte-d'Or, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, Meuse, Nièvre, Paris et petite couronne, Seine-et-Marne, Yonne, Essonne, Val-d'Oise, Charente, Creuse, Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Vienne and Haute-Vienne.

Earlier this week storms left thousands of households without electricity in the south of the country and brought trees crashing down in the Riviera resort of Nice.

And last week some of Burgundy’s most prestigious vineyards were destroyed by hail storms.

Several people have died or been left seriously injured in recent weeks after being struck by lightning.

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French storms leave two dead and 70,000 in dark

UPDATED: The violent storms that lashed swathes of south west and central France on Monday night resulted in the tragic death two drivers and saw 70,000 left without power.

French storms leave two dead and 70,000 in dark
A gas tank explodes near Montauban after being struck by a falling tree. Photo: Screengrab BFMTV
In all around one quarter of the country had been placed on Orange alert with residents told to be vigilant.

By Tuesday morning the warnings had been lifted but not before the violent weather had claimed the life of a 29-year-old driver who was killed by a falling tree.

The young woman was killed near the town of Montbeton in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the south west France when a tree fell on her car during a storm that saw the gales of over 100km/h.

(The scene of the tragic accident that saw a young driver killed by a falling tree. Photo: BFMTV)

In another freak incident a Bulgarian lorry driver was killed in the Charente départment when he struck by lightning. 

According to reports he stepped out of his truck at around 8pm near the town of Nonaville wearing nothing on his feet and was hit by a bolt of lightning. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate him. 

Another driver was fighting for his life after in a similar incident in the town of Castelsarrazain in the same area. In all there were reports that seven members of the public had been injured, five of them of them seriously.

In nearby Montauban there were dramatic images when a tree crashed down onto a tank storing of 5,000 litres of gas (see photo above).

The mayor of the town took the step of ordering all primary schools to remain closed on Tuesday, the first day of the new term, until all safety checks had been carried out on buildings.

Secondary schools would only open if they were deemed safe by the headteachers.

There were also reports of two trains being stuck with scores of passengers on board, including a TGV blocked for eight hours in Montauban and Toulouse airport had to be closed.

Firefighters in the Tarn-et-Garonne said they were called out over 200 times.

Elsewhere a lightning strike on a house prompted a massive fire in the Gers department and firefighters were called out to clear fallen trees and flooded basements across the area.

Falling electricity pylons meant that in all around 70,000 homes across the south west were hit by power cuts overnight.