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Residents warned of weather danger

Meteo-France says people should take extreme care when outside and avoid using phones and electrical equipment in storm

MASSIVE storms across the west of France have hit 11 departments with Meteo-France putting them on orange alert and warning residents to take extreme care when leaving home, when taking part in leisure activities - and to avoid using telephones and electrical equipment.

The new warning comes after thunder and hails storms swept the west and north of the country yesterday and left a trail of destruction with houses damaged - including one in Yvelines set on fire by lightning, power lines cut, flooding and vines wiped out.

Flights in and out of the Paris airports were also affected with planes being diverted to both Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly at different times.

Today residents in Calvados, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Orne, Sarthe, Gers and Hautes-Pyrenees departments plus Aquitaine and Poitou-Charentes regions were warned of storms sweeping up from the south with alerts for both heavy rains and flooding from rising rivers.

Later, Me1teo-France issued an updated list in mid-morning that had 12 departments: Aquitaine and Poitou-Charentes regions plus Gers, Hautes-Pyrenees and Haute-Garonne.

Meteo-France warned that up to 20mm of rain an hour could fall along accompanied by hailstones and major electrical storms. It expects about 10cm of rain on the Pyrenees and up to 6cm in the rest of the south-west.

Warmer weather at altitude also means snow-melt will mean new flooding threats on the Adour, Gave d'Oloron and the Gave de Pau rivers.

The warm weather reached almost heatwave proportions in the east of the country yesterday but residents in Paris found day turned into night around 11.00 when a giant black cloud covered the capital.

Weather forecasters at Meteo-France said that the cumulo-nimbus cloud, several kilometres high and heavy with rain and hailstones, let virtually no sunlight through to the ground in the City of Light.

Giant hailstones the size of an egg were reported near Tours and towards Vouvray and Reugny winegrowers reported large-scale destruction of their vines in just around 10 minutes.

Pompiers were kept very busy with around 250 call-outs in the Tours region and around 220 in Rochefort in Charente-Maritime alone.

Photo: Twitter LaDefense.fr - Defacto

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