Tornadoes and record highs - France's weather weekend

The mercury soared to nearly 33C in Corsica, while tornadoes were reported in the Hérault, and an Enerdis engineer was badly injured in the Ardèche

21 October 2019
One of the tornadoes caught on film in the Hérault
By Connexion journalist

Discussing the weather is a stereotypically British pastime, but the French have reason to do so today, following a weekend that saw tornadoes in the Hérault and record temperatures for the end of October in Corsica.

Several tornadoes were reported along the A75 motorway between Pézenas and Clermont-l'Hérault on Sunday. According to some witnesses, a caravan was thrown across the highway.

At least four tornadoes were reported, officials said, with trees felled and the roofs of up to 30 homes were damaged by highly localised winds of up to 170kph.

Meteo France said that the 32.5C recorded in Ajaccio on Saturday was the highest for the second half of October since official records began. The previous record high was 30.8C, recorded on October 26, 2006.

This high temperature was caused by the Sirocco, a warm, dry wind from the Sahara which "raised the temperature to an exceptional level", La Chaîne Météo said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, in the Ardèche, an Enerdis engineer was severely injured while restoring powerlines that had come down in storms.

The worker suffered serious electrical burns as he worked to restore a 20,000-volt line in Dunière-sur-Eyrieux. Work was immediately cut short, leaving some 3,400 properties without power overnight.

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