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Photos: ‘Ping-pong’ ball size hailstones destroy roofs in France

The mayor of one town described the storm as a catastrophe with roofs and car windscreens damaged. Most departments remain under weather alerts

Hailstones the size of ping-pong balls fell across several areas of France yesterday (June 21). Photo for illustration Pic: CristiDumi / Shutterstock

As last week’s heatwave continues in several areas, much of France is now being affected by storms bringing strong winds, heavy rain and torrential hail. 

Hailstones the size of ping-pong balls came down over various different areas, from Saône-et-Loire to Cher, damaging roofs and car windscreens. 

The mayor of Digoin (Saône-et-Loire), David Bême, told BFMTV that the damage done to the commune by large hailstones was “a real catastrophe.  

“Part of the town has been devastated, especially in the centre,” he added. “All the roofs have fallen in and there is much water-related damage in homes, shops and in all the public buildings, as well as many other businesses.

“There have been no casualties, which is the most important thing. But it is a real catastrophe.”

In the Cher towns of Bourges and Vierzon, several streets were flooded as a result of the storms, and fire and rescue services were called out to more than 200 incidents. Around 02:00, firefighters from Loiret had to be mobilised as reinforcements. 

In Vierzon, around 25mm of rain fell in 20 minutes at one point during the day. 

Bourges music group Les Berrysiliens, who were performing for La Fête de la musique yesterday evening, braved the storms and continued performing, even as water cascaded down the steps where they stood. 

Read more: La Fête de la musique turns 40: events planned around France

Wind gusts of 109km/h were recorded and roofs and cars badly damaged, but no one was hurt. 

The vast majority of metropolitan French departments remain under a weather warning for storms today (June 22), with nine western departments on an orange alert. 

Read more: 15 French departments still on orange storm or heatwave alert

However, the storms are expected to abate as the day wears on. 

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