Central France on alert for more violent storms

Four departments in central France were placed on storm alert on Monday, as France braces itself for another week of extreme weather.

Central France on alert for more violent storms
More storms were predicted in the Lyon region on Monday. Photo: PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP.

The Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Loire and Rhône departments have been placed on orange alert, based on forecasts by Météo France. ‘Violent’ storms were expected to begin on Monday afternoon, with hailstorms, heavy rain and strong winds.

On Tuesday, June 22nd, three months’ worth of rain fell in one day in the northern town of Beauvais, leading to floods and collisions on the roads. While on Friday, June 18th, thousands of homes in south west France were without electricity after violent overnight storms after an early summer heatwave ended with a thunderous bang.

And after a brief respite there was more on the way – starting on Saturday as the 2021 Tour de France got under way in Brittany. 

Storms in the south west caused damage to trees and power lines on Sunday.

The Météo-France forecast for Monday evening. Image: Météo-France

Forecasters said the cause of this latest series of thunderstorms is a weather phenomenon known as a ‘cold drop’ – a mass of isolated cold air surrounded by areas of warmer air. 

As the animation from storm watchers Keraunos shows, that problematic mass of storm-causing cold air that has travelled from Britain is expected to bounce around France for several days.

The Météo-France forecast for Tuesday afternoon. Image: Météo-France

Temperatures will stick below normal for the season for most of the country, while forecasters expect storms to bubble up towards the end of the day from Monday until at least Thursday. 

Forecasters admit the scenario could change a bit depending on the behaviour of the cold drop, which may disappear faster than models predict. But the consensus of opinion is that we should expect rain and storms for a few days to come.

Storms are not unusual at this time of year – they are most common in France in June, July and August, with an average of 15 to 20 stormy days each summer. We will be at the lower end of that average by the end of next week.

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Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Across south west France trapping campaigns have begun in an attempt to control the numbers of dangerous Asian hornets.

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Trapping campaigns are organised annually at this time of year, as the weather begins to get warmer and queens begin to emerge from hibernation.

And the Charente-Maritime town of Royan Atlantique, on France’s west coast, is leading the way, as the below video shows.

Experts say that now is the time to begin using the traps, as catching queen hornets in the process of building their nests will lead to far fewer insects later in the year. 

Some 2,000 traps are installed in and around Royan this year, including 300 that were distributed to householders in the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Once installed, the traps can capture several dozen insects at a time.

In order to capture a maximum of hornet queens, traps should be installed between mid-February and mid-May. Especially since during this period, these predators end up coming out of their hibernation.

It is believed Asian hornets arrived in France around 2004. They have now spread nationwide.

Although their venom is not more powerful than that of normal bees or wasps, they are known to be more aggressive towards humans, and their stings can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people.

The hornets also damage beehives and kill bees, damaging honey stocks and destroying the native ecosystem.