Weather warning as autumn storms hit southern France

storms to hit France today

Météo-France puts five departments on alert for rain, floods and intense electrical activity

Intense storms are forecast along the Mediterranean coast of France on Friday, national forecaster Météo-France has warned as it issued orange weather alerts for five departments in the south of the country.

The Ardèche, Gard and Hérault are on the second-highest alert level for forecast rain and possible flash floods; while electrical activity will be high in the Var and Bouches-du-Rhône as the region experiences an "épisode méditerranéen" or "orages cévenols", caused by humid air rising from the Mediterranean sea coming into contact with cooler air coming from the north. They usually denote violent yet brief storms, accompanied by intense rain and flash flooding.

In October, 11 people died when a similar weather event led to devastating flooding in the Aude department

In the Gard, Ardèche and eastern parts of the Hérault, Météo France forecasts morning rain is set to turn stormy in the afternoon. Between 50mm and 180mm of rain is expected locally, notably in the Cévennes; and the heavy rain is likely to be accompanied by strong winds and hail.

Storms are expected in the Var from 12noon onwards, forecasters said; while Bouches-du-Rhône will be affected from the end of the afternoon, with storms expected to sweep across the whole of the department throughout the evening. Up to 130mm of rain is forecast to fall in a short time over the western part of the department.

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