ALERT: Violent storms to hit France tonight, tornado seen in Normandy

The bad weather will move north-eastward from Aquitaine to Normandy before heading east on Monday. Residents are advised to be on high alert.

Meteo France forecasts heavy rain, potential flooding and violent winds for 33 departments
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Meteo France has issued weather warnings for 33 departments due to violent storms forecast between the evening of Sunday September 17 and Monday afternoon.

The departments on elevated (orange) alert are primarily in the south west, Normandy and the Paris area, with the stormfront forecast to move east over the following day.

Which regions and departments are on high alert on Sunday?

  • Ile-de-France: all departments
  • Normandy: all departments
  • Centre-Val-de-Loire: all departments
  • Occitanie: Hautes-Pyrénées, Gers, Tarn-et-Garonne and Lot
  • Nouvelle-Aquitaine: Charente, Corrèze, Creuse, Dordogne, Gironde, Haute-Vienne, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, and Vienne

Meteo France uses four colour codes to indicate levels of alert:

  • Red - Danger
  • Orange - High alert
  • Yellow - Alert
  • Green - No alert

The government can also send emergency phone messages in case of a red weather alert.

The storm is forecast to include squalls in excess of 100km/h, intense bursts of heavy rain, up to 50mm in some places, and “intense electrical activity”.

“A vast stormfront will be established from the South West to Normandy, with the most intensive activity occurring on the southern part of this line as well as Normandy,” states Meteo France.

A tornado struck Mayenne (Pays de la Loire) on Sunday evening as the stormfront reached Normandy.

Flooding could affect certain areas, particularly in Seine-Maritime, Eure and Calvados.

While 33 regions are on high alert, Meteo France has also put much of France on alert, including Brittany, advising people to be vigilant.

The weather service says the affected area will then spread eastwards over the course of Monday.

Which regions are on high alert on Monday?

  • Ile-de-France: all departments
  • Normandy: Seine-Maritime, Eure
  • Hauts-de-France: Val d’Oise
  • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: Ardèche, Drôme

The high alert will be lifted for many of the 33 departments on Monday, however, Meteo France will maintain a yellow alert level for most of them.

Flooding could affect Seine-Maritime, Eure, Ardèche and Drôme.

What is the advice for areas on orange alert?

People in the departments on orange alert for storms and flooding are advised to:

  • Stay away from trees and water courses
  • Stay inside
  • Keep informed and avoid travelling
  • Make sure that loose items cannot blow away
  • Avoid using electronic devices.

Storms are not uncommon in France at this time of year, however, with temperatures currently four degrees above the seasonal average, Meteo France says that the warm air has exacerbated the situation.

An orange alert was also issued on Saturday September 16 for Hérault and Gard due to storms and flooding.

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