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Orange weather alerts remain as storms cause flooding in France

Some areas could see 100-130mm of rainfall, along with hail and high winds. This comes after storms caused considerable damage in Paris and other areas yesterday

Several French departments remain under storm alerts today (August 17) Pic: Sabphoto / Shutterstock

[Article updated August 17 at 11:33 to reflect three more departments being added to the orange alert.]

There are eight departments still under an orange storm and flood warning today (August 17), as the “violent” weather system moves eastwards.

Hérault, Gard, Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône and Var have been under the warning since early this morning, and Seine-Maritime, Calvados and Manche were added at around 11:00. Every other metropolitan department is under a yellow alert for storms, and there have been images circulating on social media of torrential rain and flooding in Paris. 

In 90 minutes, 45mm of rain fell over the capital, nearly reaching the monthly average of 58mm. Streets and métro stations were flooded and the Seine rose by 35cm.

In general, the storms are giving way to rainfall of 20-40mm per hour in affected areas, as well as thunder, lightning and hail.

Read more: South of France prepares for violent storms

In Montarnaud (Hérault), 75mm of rain has fallen and in Puéchabon (also in Hérault), 86mm came down in one hour.

Wind gusts of 103km/h have been recorded in Aigues-Mortes (Gard) and 98km/g in Cap Couronne (Bouches-du-Rhône).

The weather is being rendered more unstable by the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea, which is fuelling the storms.

Read more: Worries over fish and ecosystem as Mediterranean sea set to reach 30C

Today, the storms will continue to move eastwards, bringing with them wind gusts of 80-100km/h, hail and heavy rain.

As these weather systems move away, further storms will form over the sea, affecting the departments under orange alert this afternoon. By this evening, they should have moved eastwards. 

During the afternoon, some areas could see rainfall of 100-130mm over an hour.

People living in affected areas are being asked by authorities to put off any trips that they may want to make, or at least to check the immediate weather forecast before travelling.

Var’s prefecture has warned that: “30cm of water is enough to carry off a car.” 

Storms cause tree to fall on couple’s tent 

The storms which occurred across the country yesterday (August 16) caused localised flooding and roof damage, and in Corrèze, an elderly couple were seriously injured when a tree fell on their tent. 

The incident happened in the municipal campsite in Collonges-la-Rouge at around 02:30 this morning, and both the 69-year-old woman and the 79-year-old man were transported to the Centre Hospitalier de Brive. The woman is in a critical condition.

An investigation has been opened into the exact circumstances surrounding the tree’s fall.

Related articles 

We must prepare homes now for flash floods, says French fire chief

June flooding and mudslides recognised as natural disasters in France

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