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Watch: Villagers record ‘almost apocalyptic tornado’ in central France

The ‘tornado’ in Pontarion, Creuse, came as much of France was on alert for high winds, especially in coastal areas

The ‘tornado’ hit in Pontarion, Creuse, a department in central France. Photo for illustration purposes only. Pic: Minerva Studio / Shutterstock

A tornado swept through a village in Creuse, central France, on Thursday (March 9), causing damage to infrastructure and buildings.

The violent weather left a number of houses in Pontarion with roofs and windows, while telephone lines were also damaged. 

Despite the damage from the tornado, no one was injured in the village, confirmed its mayor on Friday (March 10).

The tornado was caused by the strong winds that led to weather warnings across France, with some regions seeing winds of up to 100km/h.

‘Three-quarters of buildings destroyed’

The tornado struck the village around 5 pm on Thursday (March 9). It is reportedly the first one recorded in the department in more than 25 years.

According to the meteorological site Keraunos there was a 5-15% chance of a tornado forming in Creuse and the nearby departments yesterday.

Eyewitness reports of the event called the event “almost apocalyptic”.

Around “three-quarters of roofs in the village are destroyed,” in the village according to resident Guilhem Carbon, and the “main street is littered with debris.”

“I have never experienced anything like it,” he added.

The village’s school was closed on Friday as a result of the tornado. 

“There is damage to many buildings… but thankfully everybody remained safe during the storm… nobody was injured,” said mayor Jean-Claude Moreau on France Bleu radio on Friday. 

Now the village must deal with the fallout from the violent weather, he said, and start to repair the buildings.

Firefighters in the department received more than 150 calls during yesterday’s weather, 58 of them coming from Pontarion and the surrounding area.  

Read more: Roof tile shortages delay building projects and repairs in France

Weather warnings continue across France on Friday

The Creuse department was (and still is, at the time of writing) under a yellow weather warning for strong winds.

Credit: Screenshot / MétéoFrance

Whilst a number of departments are still facing orange warnings today (March 10), some departments (such as Finistère and Morbihan) have seen alerts lifted. 

The departments on orange alert (be very vigilant) for high winds remain, at the time of writing: Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Hérault, Var, Alpes-Maritimes, Haute-Corse and Corse-du-Sud.

Weather warnings across France are set to ease on Saturday.

Credit: Screenshot / MétéoFrance

Some pockets of France are still expected to see yellow warnings remain, including in the north-west (for black ice), the centre and south-west of the country (for heavy rainfall), and eastern mountainous departments (for black ice, heavy rainfall, and avalanches).

Four departments are still scheduled to have an orange warning for strong winds in place tomorrow. These are Alpes-Maritimes, Var, and both Corsican departments. 

You can check the latest information on Météo France’s website here.

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