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Mudslides and 28,000 lightning strikes as storms hit northwest France

Thousands of homes are still without power and a Normandy children’s home was set alight by lightning. Other areas are now on storm alert

Violent storms hit northwestern parts of France last night (Sunday, May 15) resulting in power cuts for 5,500 homes with 28,000 lightning strikes recorded between Manche (Normandy) and Maine-et-Loire (Pays de la Loire).

Some 5,000 of these homes were still without electricity this morning, as Enedis stated that “the biggest repairs need to be done [today].” 

Read more: Storm alert: Six departments on orange for hail, rain, and 100k/h wind

If your home has suffered storm or lightning damage you can download a certificate from Météo-France to help with any insurance claims.

Read more: Météo-France will give certified proof of a storm for insurance claims

The storm brought winds of up to 110km/h to the region, particularly affecting Calvados and Eure where the communes of Pont-Audemer and Bernay saw the most damage.

In Thury-Harcourt-le-Hom (Calvados), residents spotted a funnel cloud – a type of tornado which does not reach the ground. 

Northwestern departments were also affected by heavy rain and hailstorms, with 29mm of precipitation falling in 30 minutes in Mayenne, causing mudslides.

Fire in a Normandy children’s home 

A children’s home in Troarn (Calvados) was set alight by a lightning bolt in the evening, and much of its roof was destroyed. 

The 11 children living in the home were quickly evacuated and the fire was eventually brought under control.

“No one was hurt, which is the most important thing,” the commune’s mayor Christian Le Bas told BFMTV, adding that firefighters “stayed on constant watch,” throughout the evening and night.

Six departments – Seine-Maritime, Eure, Calvados, Manche, Orne and Sarthe – were all placed under an orange alert for storms yesterday afternoon, but this has now been lifted.

Parts of northeastern and southeastern France have, however, been put under a yellow storm warning this morning (May 16), as the weather system moves across the country. Further details on the affected areas can be found on the Météo France website.

Now that the storm has passed over Normandy, the sun has returned to the region, with just the odd chance of showers in inland areas of Normandy and Pays de la Loire. 

The storm is set to affect much of Grand Est this afternoon, but the rest of the country should see clear skies for the rest of the day.

Météo France predictions suggest that temperatures will drop slightly over the course of this week, although Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes could see highs of 31-32⁰C. Over the course of the week, stormy weather is expected to return to northwestern and central France, moving down to the south east by Saturday (May 21).

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