Tornado, snow and stormy weather

October-like conditions due to last until end of month with warning of rising prices as harvests are delayed

20 May 2013

AFTER a holiday weekend of snow, torrents of rain, storm winds and even a water-spout, forecasters say that the moche filthy weather over most of France will continue until the end of the month.

Market gardeners have been particularly badly hit by the rains which have seen early strawberries and cherries saturated to bursting with water, the seasons for other crops delayed for three weeks or more and greenhouses needing extra heating – which will mean higher prices in the shops.

Beekeepers warned that bees are still in their hives, delaying pollination and honey production and Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll said the “delayed pollination and maturation” would have consequences for market gardeners, fruit growers and winemakers in coming weeks.

Météo France said the weather was “more like October” and warned apple and tomato production could be hit after Brittany and Normandy saw temperatures below zero at the end of last week. Normandy was 50% down on its normal sunshine and light levels and this was affecting cereal crops.

Across France temperatures are 3-5C below normal and the first five months of the year saw the worst weather for 25 years.

Both Cannes and Biarritz saw a month’s worth of rain in one day on Saturday, with 72mm at Cannes and 137mm at Biarritz.

The torrential rain knocked out satellite TV reception for some viewers on the Mediterranean coast and led to two bullfights and bull-running being cancelled at Nîmes and flood alerts on the river Argens in the Var.

A beach-front caravan site was cleared at Arles due to the risk from storms out to sea and at Sainte-Maxime in the Var a tornado-like water-spout was seen touching down on the beach.

It was caught on video: watch it here on the Var-Matin website

Snow fell at between 1,800m and 2,000m in the Alps, 1,500m-1,800m in the Pyrenees and as low as 1,500m on the Massif Central.

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