A swathe of France stretching from Dordogne in the south to Pas-de-Calais in the north was on alert for storms on Wednesday.
Météo France issued the orange alerts – the second highest ranking of weather warning – as the storms spread across the country.
Storms currently hitting the Gironde, western France, as well as Poitou-Charente, will intensify throughout the afternoon as they pass through several departments placed on alert, Météo France says.
The departments affected are: L'Allier, la Charente, le Cher, la Corrèze, la Creuse, la Dordogne, l'Eure, l'Eure-et-Loir, l'Indre, l'Indre-et-Loire, le Loir-et-Cher, le Loiret, la Nièvre, l'Oise, le Pas-de-Calais, le Puy-de-Dôme, Paris, la Seine-Maritime, la Seine-et-Marne, les Yvelines, la Somme, la Vienne, la Haute-Vienne, l'Yonne, l'Essonne, la Seine-Saint-Denis, le Val-de-Marne, les Hauts-de-Seine and le Val-d'Oise.
Stay safe everyone in France. This stormy gale force weather is wild. x
— Samantha Brick (@SamanthaBrick) May 21, 2014
@TheLocalFrance Tell me about it – Armageddon in Charente at the moment!!
— Ali L (@Alichat66) May 21, 2014
Météo France expects "unusually" intense downpours, which could see 60mm to 70mm of rain fall in a short time and warns that the storms may be accompanied by hail.
Météo France said gales of up to 100kp/h were also expected as the storms sweep across the country.