Météo-France has now put 26 departments on orange alert for violent storms between 2pm today and 4am tomorrow.
The national forecaster’s 6am update warned residents of Ain, Allier, Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Cantal, Corrèze, Côte-d'Or, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Hérault, Jura, Landes, Loire, Haute-Loire, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Lozère, Nièvre, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Rhône, Saône-et-Loire, Tarn and Tarn-et-Garonne to brace for electrical storms.
Although they have not been placed on alert, the three departments of Limousin were due to witness the birth of the storms this morning.
The system is due to become more active in the afternoon, as it crosses into the Auvergne, the western Rhône-Alpes, southern Burgundy and Franche-Comté.
A second wave of storms are forecast to build in the western Pyrenees in the afternoon. These are expected to head to the plains of eastern Aquitaine and Midi Pyrenees, and will bring further storms to the Auvergne, eastern Rhône-Alpes and Burgundy by evening.
Météo-France has warned residents to expect up to 40mm of locally heavy rain, hail and gusts of up to 120kph.
The north of France does not escape the bad weather. It is not due any thunderstorms, but a depression is set to bring rain to Brittany, Pays-de-la-Loire, Normandy and regions north of the Seine.