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Records smashed as lightning strikes rain down on France

French storm observatory Keraunos said Monday was the ‘the stormiest day of the previous 15 years’

The number of lightning strikes outstripped the previous record from 2001 and was the highest since records began 35 years ago Pic: Den Rozhnovsky / Shutterstock

More than 9,500 lightning strikes hit France on Monday (March 13), a figure not seen on a single day in March since records began 35 years ago.

Monitoring service Météorage recorded the strikes, which numbered 9,549, beating the previous record of 9,134 in March 2001. 

The French storm observatory, Keraunos, said Monday was “the stormiest day of the previous 15 years”. A statement on its website read: “The indicator of storm severity was at 19.7 for the day of March 13, 2023, which makes it the stormiest day since the start of our data in 2009.”

‘Significant instability’

The cause of such weather unrest is “significant instability for the first 15 days of March, between the Pyrenees and the northeast of France”. 

As well as the lightning strikes, the weather caused “hailstones, sometimes reaching three or four centimetres in diameter”, as well as “strong gusts of wind, between 80 and 110 km/h”.

Meanwhile, villagers in Pontarion, central France, captured a tornado on camera

There have also been significantly fluctuating temperatures, with unseasonal highs in some areas and unexpected snowfall in others.

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