Violent storms and 100kph winds cause heavy damage in southwest France

Falling trees and flooding caused major disruption to roads, train lines and electricity supply. A three-year-old girl was injured

18 June 2021
Lightning strikes. Violent storms and 100kph winds cause heavy damage in southwest France

Thousands of households experiences power cuts due to damage done to electricity lines Pic: Imanol Zuaznabar Garcia / Shutterstock

By Joanna York

Violent storms in southwest France yesterday (June 17) caused damage including falling trees and power cuts.

Rain, lightning, winds of over 100kph and even a mini tornado were recorded in Occitanie. 

Much of the damage was in Haute-Garonne, Tarn, and Ariège, with 37,000 households in the three departments experiencing electricity cuts.

This morning (June 18) some 15,000 houses were still without electricity. 

In Limoux, Aude, heavy rainfall caused a torrent of water to run through the streets in the town centre.

Falling trees and floods disrupt travel

Firemen in Haute-Garonne attended 150 incidents, including flooded houses, wind damage to roofs and blocked roads that needed clearing.

In Tarn, firemen also attended around 150 incidents, including damaged electricity and phone lines, and the roof of a bank that had fallen in.

Fallen trees also caused numerous incidents. In Varennes, firemen helped two children trapped in a car surrounded by fallen trees, and in Saint-Sulpice-la-Pointe a hundred-year-old tree fell on two cars, injuring a three-year-old girl.

The girl was taken to nearby Lavaur hospital, before being transferred to Purpan hospital in Toulouse.

Multiple train lines were also disrupted as trees fell on the tracks. 

SNCF gave an update via Twitter this morning saying that train lines were still down between Foix-Latour, Toulouse-Mazamet, Toulouse-Rodez and Toulouse-Capdenac.

Bordeaux area also suffers floods

Around 60 people were also evacuated by firemen in communes surrounding Bordeaux. 

In Latresne, around 30 people sheltered in a town hall due to significant flooding. 

A further 30 people were also moved to safety in Tresses, Artigues-près-Bordeaux and Saint-Loubès. In Tresses, schools affected by floods are closed today.

Storm warnings lifted this morning

Yesterday, 31 departments were on orange alert for storms.

This morning, Météo France lifted orange alerts for all but one department, Rhône, which is experiencing a heatwave. 

Temperatures in Rhône are expected to reach a minimum of 20C to 23C and a maximum of 32C to 35C until Saturday morning, when they will start to cool.

Stormy weather and hail are still possible today in the north west and north east of France.

In the Pyrénées, clouds, hail and possible isolated storms are forecast.

And in the Rhône-Alpes, heavy clouds, rain and thunder are expected this afternoon.

Related stories

House in France struck by lightning? How to claim

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
Brexit and Beyond for Britons in France*
Featured Help Guide
What the Brexit deal means for UK residents of France, second homeowners and visitors in 2021 and after
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now