Storm warning: 17 areas in northern France on weather alert

France's early heatwave is breaking on Friday in spectacular fashion, with Météo France forecasting ‘locally violent’ storms.

Storm warning: 17 areas in northern France on weather alert
(Photo: Philippe Huguen / AFP)

Weather alerts have been issued for 17 départements in northern and central France.

The national forecaster’s mid-morning weather update put Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Somme, Aisne, Oise, Seine-Maritime, Eure, Ardennes, Marne, Val-d’Oise, Yvelines, Essonne, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine, Val-de-Marne, and Paris on orange alert for storms – its second-highest weather warning, urging residents and visitors to those areas to be extra-vigilant.

Image: Météo France

Up to 30mm of rain in less than an hour is forecast, as the system crosses the country from west to east from the end of the morning and through the afternoon, with winds passing 100km/h as the locally violent storms pass. Hail showers are also possible.

The worst of the storms are expected to pass by about 6pm, but the current weather alert is in place until 6am Saturday, and may be updated as the day progresses. 

A further 29 departments, the entire northern half of France except the tip of Brittany, are on yellow alert for storms, with a further six currently on yellow alert for strong winds.

Last weekend, north-west France was affected by violent thunderstorms, which had left thousands of homes without electricity. Since then, France had experienced very high heat – in Paris the overnight heat record for the month of May was broken this week.

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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.