Storms Dudley and Eunice set to bring 140 km/h winds to northern France

Winds of up to 140 km/h are forecast when storms Dudley and Eunice hit northern France.

Storm waves crash into the sea wall of a town in northern France
Photo: Philippe Huguen / AFP

A month of relative weather peace ended this week after an anticyclone that protected the country for more than a month dissipated, leaving the country at the mercy of winter Atlantic weather conditions

Storms Dudley and Eunice are forecast to sweep over Ireland, then into the UK before heading into Europe – and the north of France should brace for strong winds on Wednesday night into the early hours of Thursday, and again on Friday.

The French have already witnessed a return of rainy intervals, turning wintry at higher altitudes following the break-up of the anticyclone’s ‘weather shield’.

Dudley will be the first storm to affect northern reaches of France, bringing some heavy rain and winds gusting up to 110kph overnight on the hauteurs de l’Artois and Pays de Caux, upper Normandy, and across Hauts-de-France from 10pm until about 2pm. 

Winds of up to 80kph are to be expected from Lower Normandy across to the Grand Est.

After a lull on Thursday, the more powerful Storm Eunice is set to track across a similar path on Friday, bringing wind gusts of up to 120kph in the Nord, Pas-de-Calais and Somme, rising to 140kph along the coast.

From Normandy to the Ardennes, windspeeds of up to 100kph are forecast, while further south, from Brittany and Pays-de-la-Loire to the Grand Est, the gusts can reach 80 or even 90kph.

A storm surge of between 30cm and 40cm is expected along northern coasts at high tide on Friday – though that is not as high as the 1m envisaged along the coast of the Netherlands, further north, where worse conditions are predicted.

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Swathes of France placed on alert for post-heatwave storms and gales

The worst of the recent heatwave may be have passed but parts of central, eastern and north-eastern France were placed on alert on Thursday over the risk of violent thunderstorms.

Swathes of France placed on alert for post-heatwave storms and gales

Unfortunately, the severe weather in France has not quite finished yet.

Météo France placed 25 départements in central, eastern and northeastern France under the ‘orange’ alert, warning residents of the risk of severe thunderstorms this Thursday and Friday.

The départements concerned are Ain, Allier, Ardennes, Aube, Cantal, Côte-d’Or, Doubs, Jura, Loire, Haute-Loire, Marne, Haute-Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Nièvre, Puy-de-Dôme, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Rhône, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Vosges, Yonne, and Territoire de Belfort.

Forecasters estimate that storms will roll in around midday and last into the night of Thursday or into Friday morning.

“These storms will could be violent,” warned Meteo France. Meteorologists are predicting locally strong hail falls, heavy rainfall -with accumulations of around 30 to 50 mm in under an hour – and strong gusts of wind, which could reach 70 to 90 km/h.

On Wednesday evening, parts of the Pays de la Loire region experienced severe thunderstorms, some of which caused damage. In the town of Le Coteau, hail caused signficant damage, with the mayor telling Franceinfo that the town was “devastated by a torrent of hail.” No injuries were reported, but there was “considerable material damage.”

Earlier in the week, France’s western départements had also been on orange alert for violent thunderstorms. 

Places like Bordeaux saw significant hail-fall, which some were able to catch on video:

Meanwhile, the orange alert for heat has been lifted for the six départements in eastern France that were still seeing high temperatures. Now, most of the south, southwest, and west of the country have returned to a ‘yellow’ alert level.