British couple hit by lightning during violent storm in France

A British couple suffered burns from being struck by lightning during a violent storm in the south of France.

British couple hit by lightning during violent storm in France
Photo: AFP

The pair of motorcyclists were caught in a storm on Monday afternoon near the village of Villeneuve-de-Berg (Ardeche) and pulled over to the side of the main road.

But the couple, aged 25 and 28, were then struck by a bolt of lightning, according to the local Dauphiné Libéré newspaper.

It was initially reported that the pair had taken shelter under a tree during the storm but a family member has since told The Local they were on the road when they were hit by the bolt of lightning. An incident that was “very scary and traumatic”, according to the family.

The woman suffered superficial burns to her chest and the man suffered minor injuries and was left with “aches and pains”. While the man has been released from hospital in Lyon the woman is being kept in for close observation.

Getting hit by lightning might seem like a one in a million chance, but every year in France lightning strikes 100 to 200 people, with 10 to 20 deaths annually, according to the French lightning protection association (Association Protection Foudre – APF).

The month of May in France saw the most lightning strikes ever recorded as a series of storms repeatedly lashed the country. There have been more storms in recent days in the south east and south west of the country.

The risk of getting hit goes up with the temperature, so it's especially important to be vigilant during warm weather spells.

The APF stresses the importance of staying away from trees. In fact, tall objects in general attract lightning and should be avoided. The taller the object, the likelier it is to be hit by lightning.

Here's some advice on the best ways to stay safe in a lightning storm. 

READ ALSO: Violent storms in France – How to avoid being struck by lightning

Violent storms in France: How to avoid being struck by lightning

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Northern France on alert for violent storms after deluge hits Paris

Three départements in northern France were on alert for violent storms on Friday after Paris and other parts of the country were hit by downpours and the Eiffel Tower was struck by lightning (see pic).

Northern France on alert for violent storms after deluge hits Paris
A photo taken on June 10, 2014 shows a lightning strike during a thunderstorm over the city of Paris. Photo: JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP
Three departments in the north of the country were placed on orange alert for storms in the lunchtime bulletin from national forecaster Météo-France, as the storm system that hit Paris earlier Friday moves north.
Residents in Nord, Pas-de-Calais and  the Aisne were warned to expect strong electrical storms, with hail, strong winds and the possibility of localised flash flooding, with up to 60mm of rain forecast in some areas in just an hour.

Residents in the areas are advised to seek shelter indoors and stay away from rivers or trees during a storm.

And forecasters have warned that, after a few days of rising temperatures, storms are expected throughout the day on Friday.

Residents in the capital will be well aware of the conditions as storms hit early this morning as the system spread west.

And day very quickly turned to night as the conditions continued into rush hour.

A quarter of an hour was all it took for the deluge in several communes across the Seine-et-Marne department, flooding 90 houses in the 800-population village of Thieux on Wednesday. 

Twenty-four hours later, residents – who had spent the day cleaning up – were forced to evacuate again, as the storms returned.

The nearby communes of Messy, Gressy, Villeroy and Cherny were also hit as the storms battered large parts of the country.

This afternoon, heavy thunderstorms will extend from the Paris Basin towards Hauts-de-France, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine. 

Further south, storms will develop in the Pyrenees and spread deeper into the Occitanie. The weather will also become very unstable from Limousin to Auvergne with sometimes strong thunderstorms.

Overnight, powerful storms are forecast to hit Occitanie and Auvergne, while a few thunderstorms will still affect the regions north of the Seine, mainly between Hauts-de-France and Lorraine.