IN PICTURES: Violent hailstorms and 10,000 bolts of lightning hit France

The past 48 hours haven't felt a lot like summer in much of France, with parts of the country hit by freak violent hailstorms, the south west experiencing wind speeds not seen since 1999 and a whopping 10,000 bolts of lightning striking on Wednesday night.

IN PICTURES: Violent hailstorms and 10,000 bolts of lightning hit France
Illustration photo: AFP

Despite predictions that France is set for a pleasant summer, some parts of the country are still waiting for it to arrive. 

Severe thunderstorms broke out on Wednesday night for the second consecutive day, with 10,000 lightning strikes recorded across the country.
Gusts reaching over 137km/h were recorded in Toulouse, beating the city's previous record set in December 1999.
And it led to some dramatic scenes in the southern French city. 






On top of that, Normandy was hit by a violent storm on Tuesday, which brought with it giant hailstones (see below) measuring a whopping 7cm.




On Tuesday France was hit by a total of 5,349 lightning strikes before midnight, 2,451 in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and 2,619 in Normandy.

The Orne and Calvados departments of Normandy, as well as Mayenne in the Loire were particularly affected by the storms. 


Conditions are expected to remain stormy on Thursday, in particular in the Pyrenees and the north east, according to Météo France. 

But if all this talk of high winds, rain and hail is getting you down, the positive news is that France is expecting a heatwave. 

Temperatures are expected to skyrocket from next week, with France's national weather agency Météo France predicting temperatures of 37C in the east.
Although the weather agency warns that the storms are unlikely to disappear completely. 

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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.