Central France on alert for thunderstorms and ongoing heat wave

Around one third of France was on the orange weather alert on Tuesday for potentially severe thunderstorms and winds of up to 100km/h, coupled with an ongoing heatwave.

Central France on alert for thunderstorms and ongoing heat wave
A photograph shows lightning in Montlouis-sur-Loire, Central France in May 2022 (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP)

Méteo France has placed 27 of the country’s 96 mainland départements under the orange weather alert for risks of thunderstorms and heatwave, on Tuesday.

This is the second highest level of weather alert, and cautions those impacted by it to “be very vigilant” because “dangerous weather phenomena are expected.” 


Of the 27 départements on alert, 10 départements (Ain, Allier, Drôme, Isère, Jura, Loire, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Saône-et-Loire) are still being affected by the ongoing heatwave.

“Temperatures at the end of the night are still high all along the Rhone Valley,” explained Meteo France.


Regarding the risk of thunderstorms, 25 of the 27 départements are currently under the orange alert for this reason. Storms are expected to roll into central France around 4pm on Tuesday.

The départements affected by the orange alert for thunderstorms include: Ain, Allier, Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Cantal, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Creuse, Dordogne, Doubs, Haute-Garonne, Gironde, Jura, Landes, Loire, Haute-Loire, Lozère, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Saône-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres, Tarn, Vienne and Haute-Vienne.

These storms have the potential of being quite intense, with lots of lightning, potentially strong hail falls, intense rainfall and high gusts of wind, potentially reaching about 80 to 100 km/h.

Violent thunderstorms already hit the south-west and west of France on Monday night, with heavy rainfall, gusts of wind and hail, hailstones that in some places reached more than 7cm in diameter, particularly in the Bordeaux region.

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France’s latest heatwave set to peak on Friday

Friday will see scorching temperatures across France - but some relief is expected after that.

France's latest heatwave set to peak on Friday

French weather forecaster Météo France says that Friday is expected to be the peak of the latest heatwave, with temperatures dropping on Saturday and storms forecast.

Temperatures will be between 35C and 40C across most of the country with 19 départements on orange alert for high temperatures; Finistère, Morbihan, Loire-Atlantique, Vendée, Deux-Sèvres, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Haute-Vienne, Dordogne, Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne, Lot, Tarn-et-Garonne, Tarn, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Landes, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Hautes-Pyrénées.

In the afternoon, maximum temperatures in the shade will be 38 to 40C in Occitanie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Pays-de-la-Loire, 35C in most of the rest of France, but slightly lower – 30C to 34C – in the North and Northeast.

Storms are forecast for Friday evening over the Alps and Pyrenees, and will then hit the rest of the country on Saturday night and into Sunday.

The storms are expected to be short-lived, however, and will not bring any significant improvement to France’s drought, already the worst on record, that has seen water restrictions imposed across the country and rivers slow to a trickle.

Météo France said that the summer temperatures and droughts seen so far are on course to hit the figures predicted for 2050 in the “pessimistic” scenarios modelled for the climate crisis. 

IN PICTURES: French drought intensifies as River Loire dries up