More weather alerts as storms batter France

Forecasters concerned heavy rain falling on already saturated ground could lead to floods as storms move north

Thirty-five departments, in a band of northern France, are on orange storm watch while two in the southwest are on the second-highest flood alert level after storms and heavy overnight rain.

Another wave of storms are set to batter northern France over the coming hours national forecaster Météo France has warned - as it added Ardennes, Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, and Vosges to a 25-strong list of departments Aisne, Cher, Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Ille-et-Vilaine, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Loire-Atlantique, Loiret, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Oise, Orne, Sarthe, Paris, Hautes-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Seine-Maritime, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Vendée, Essonne et Val-d'Oise.

Meanwhile Gers and Tarn-et-Garonne are both on orange flood alert.

Météo France said that up to 80mm of rain could fall locally in a matter of hours, notably in Pays de la Loire, where - it said - heavy rain will continue long into the night.

Strong electrical activity, hail and high winds are also forecast, but the expected rainfall levels on already saturated soil remain the dominant concern, forecasters said.

Overnight, firefighters in the Gers were called dozens of times as sous-sols and garages flooded during downpours. Seven people had to be evacuated from their homes as waters rose up to 1m in a short time.

Several roads around L'Isle-Jourdain were impassable on Monday morning. Meanwhile, tap water has been declared unfit for consumption in Cahors.

In Ile-de-France, the two stretches of the A6 were cut off for 35 minutes on Sunday evening following an "brief but intense" storm, according to the Essonne prefecture. The RN118 was also cut for half an hour due to flooding. Rail travel was also disrupted.

In Tarn-et-Garonne, firemen were called after hailstones described as being 'the size of ping pong balls' damaged roofs.

Twenty-four hours earlier, a clinic in the northeastern town of Saint-Avold was evacuated due to ground-floor flooding.

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