The Hérault, Gard, Bouches-du-Rhône, Vaucluse and Var départements are all on orange weather alert – Météo France’s second-highest weather warning, while the rest of the country is on yellow alert for storms.
Forecasters warned that the storms may be violent with hail, heavy rain and winds gusting up to 100km/h. They also said less common phenomena such as tornados or waterspouts may occur in coastal areas.
Following a lull towards the end of the morning, more occasionally violent storms are expected in the south of the country later in the afternoon.
Départements on yellow alert may also be affected by locally powerful storms, Météo France warned.
On Tuesday, torrential rain hit Paris from around 6pm, causing flash flooding that forced some Metro stations to close.
More than 40mm of rain fell in a single hour leaving commuters having to wade through flooded streets to get home.
— Nerynn (@KanonNerynn) August 16, 2022
Marseille’s historic Vieux-Port was also under water after violent storms hit France’s second city in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Vieux Port inondé pic.twitter.com/Gi9K8B653L
— Amine 🥷 (@A_mine19) August 17, 2022
While the water has now cleared from the area, commuters faced morning rush-hour disruption, because the Tunnel de la Major, a major traffic artery into the city, was closed for an hour for safety reasons.
On the whole, however, emergency services in the south of the country reported a relatively calm night under the circumstances, despite impressive images on social media.
⛈ Un violent orage de grêle a longé la frontière entre Aude et Tarn ce mardi soir, ici à Castans. Il touche désormais l'ouest de l'Hérault. Prudence ! (© L'Abitarèla) pic.twitter.com/Vrx9NeEddb
— Météo Express (@MeteoExpress) August 16, 2022
No significant damage was recorded – but emergency services in départements on orange alert have reminded residents that they should confirm weather forecasts before making any journeys – “30cm of water is enough to carry away any car”, the prefecture of the Var said in a press release – and said that it is inadviseable to remain near a watercourse or trees when a storm strikes.