Storm warnings issued as France counts the cost of heatwave

As temperatures start to drop to more usual summer levels, France has begun counting the cost of a heatwave that left several people dead and large areas of southern France destroyed by fire.

Storm warnings issued as France counts the cost of heatwave
Firefighters survery the damage in Gard. Photo AFP

In the Gard département in southern France, 630 hectares have been left devastated after huge brushfires swept through the parched region.

A total of 550 firefighters spent Saturday battling the flames, which destroyed 11 houses and left three people slightly injured.


Over the weekend at least 10 people died in drowning incidents, while two people were reported to have died on Friday while working outside in the intense heat.

A child was seriously injured north of Paris on Thursday after being catapulted into the air by water gushing from an open fire hydrant and then crashing to the ground.

On Friday 13 départements in the south east of the country remained on orange alert for the heatwave while in the rest of the country temperatures cooled to  a seasonal norm.

Storm warnings for the east of the country. Map Météo France

Ain, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Bouches-du-Rhône, Drôme, Gard, Hérault, Isère, Rhône, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Var and Vaucluse remain on orange alert, the second highest level, for the heatwave. 

However there are also warnings out of storms on Monday and several areas in the east of the country have been put on alert for possible hail, as well as thunder and lightning.

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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.