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Southern France on storms alert a day after hail hits Gard and Hérault

Hail up to 2cm in diameter caused damage to cars and vines on Tuesday. Storms are expected to hit again on Wednesday

Hail storms in southern France have damaged vines and cars Pic: Naïs Boissier Pommier / Facebook

Cars and vines were damaged as storms left a “thick carpet of hail” in parts of southern France on Tuesday (May 23) afternoon.

Communities in Hérault and Gard saw heavy rain, wind gusts of 60km/h and hailstones up to 2cm in diameter. 

It comes with more than two dozen departments - from Pyrénées-Atlantiques in the west to Alpes-Maritimes in the east - on alert for storms on Wednesday (May 24) afternoon and evening. 

The alert is extended into Thursday (May 25) for 17 southern departments.

Cars and vines damaged by hail

Heavy rain and violent hailstorms hit late on Tuesday afternoon west of Nîmes, flooding some roads.

The communities of Souvignargues, Aujargues and Sommières were among those particularly affected.

This video - taken by Naïs Boissier Pommier - shows the hail covering a garden in Souvignargues.

Vines in the area were damaged.

Camille Lebrun, a winegrower from the Souvignargues commune, told The Connexion that “the whole [grape] harvest was destroyed” in 30 minutes, as hail left the ground “white, as if it had snowed”. 

She said such an event had “never” happened before. “My father, who is 78 years old, has never seen anything like it,” she stated, adding that he was a winegrower before he retired.

The commune is set to declare a “natural catastrophe” while unions are approaching winegrowers to calculate the scale of the damage and get help for those affected. 

In Aujargues, the hail dented cars and smashed their windscreens, according to FranceInfo.

Meanwhile in Hérépian - in the neighbouring department of Hérault - pictures were published on social media showing vineyards flooded.

Storms warning

Météo France has put 28 departments in southern France on alert for storms from noon on Wednesday and throughout the evening. 

Picture credit: Vigilance Météo France

Haute-Garonne, Landes and Pyrénées-Atlantiques are also being warned over possible flooding.

The alert level is yellow - the third highest - and means locals should remain vigilant and keep up to date with weather reports.

Seventeen southern departments, at the time of writing, are also on alert for Thursday.

You can keep up to date with the latest weather alerts on the Vigilance Météo France website.

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