April leaves with snow and tornadoes

Tornadoes leave three hurt in Marne, while Normandy residents wake up to heavy snow on last day of month

Weather warnings in northwestern France were lifted early on Tuesday, May 1, but not before parts of the country witnessed conditions more usually seen in the depths of winter, while a tornado was spotted in the Marne.

Residents in parts of Normandy were surprised to wake up to a few centimetres of snow Monday, as temperatures dipped to around freezing.

In Rouen, the windchill meant it felt more like -5C early in the morning, less than a week after the city was basking in temperatures in the late-20s. Meteo France said that 20C temperatures are expected to return over the weekend.

The conditions may be surprising, but they are hardly unusual. Snow has fallen at around this time in northwest France four times since the turn of the millennium - and in 2008, 15cm was recorded in Boulogne.

A tornado was captured on film east of Chalons-en-Champagne in the Marne at the weekend, as a powerful supercell passed from Aube to Ardennes.

It was one of two tornados that formed as the storm passed. One, which lasted for 10 minutes ripped rooftiles off about 50 houses in three villages in the Marne.

Three people were injured as a tree fell on a car.

Meanwhile, a man died after being struck by lightning while playing paintball with friends in a forest near Perpignan. The 33-year-old victim was struck in the shoulder during a powerful storm.

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