Forecasters warn of violent overnight storms

storms to hit France today

Thunderstorms to develop in Massif Central and Pyrénées on Friday afternoon and will last until early Saturday

Eighteen departments in a band from the east of the country to the southwest have been placed on orange storm alert.

The latest wave of storms were due to develop from 2pm on Friday and were expected to last until 6am on Saturday, Météo-France said in its early morning bulletin.

The departments affected are: Ain (01), Allier (03), Ardèche (07), Aude (11), Aveyron (12), Cantal (15), Drôme (26), Gard (30), Hérault (34), Isère (38), Loire (42), Haute-Loire (43), Lozère (48), Puy-de-Dôme (63), Rhône (69), Savoie (73), Haute-Savoie (74) and Tarn (81).

Météo-France's latest weather warning map

Severe thunderstorms are expected from early [Friday] afternoon over the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region into the night, forecasters said. Storms were expected to develop at the northern end of the Massif Central, and spread rapidly to lower-lying areas.

A second wave of thunderstorms will develop to the south of the Massif Central later in the day, which will affect parts of the Rhône valley and the Alpine departments in the evening and overnight. Forecasters predict up to 30mm of rainfall in some areas and winds of up to 80kph.

Eastern areas of the Occitanie will also be affected from the afternoon and late into the evening as violent storms form along the coast as well as in Lozère and along the Pyrénées. Forecasters warn of hail, up to 50mm of rain in the worst affected areas in as little as an hour and winds of up to 80kph.

Several departments in the southwest witnessed impressive storms overnight on Thursday, notably in the Lot and the Tarn.

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