France storm warnings continue: tips on how to secure your property

Much of France is on alert for bad weather on Thursday and Friday. Unsettled conditions are set to persist into the weekend

Storm warnings for today May 11 (top left) and tomorrow (bottom right) could spark changes to weekend plans yet again
Published Last updated

Weather forecaster Météo France put 68 departments on a level-two warning on Thursday (May 11), with only a handful in the north-east, north-west and south escaping.

On Friday (May 12), the situation is expected to ease in the north. But 52 departments in the centre and south of France remain on alert.

With this in mind, The Connexion looks at what you can do for your property in the event of a storm, both to protect you and the building itself from damage.

Read also: Firefighters forced to get water from sea in drought-hit south France

Rain and storms set to continue into the weekend

Storm warnings in the 68 departments are set to last until midnight on Thursday, with all corners of France hit – you can see updates on the official page here.

Warnings will continue all day into Friday – although in fewer departments – but will still pose a problem to many outdoor Friday plans for those in the south of the country.

Météo France is predicting that, whilst temperatures will not fluctuate too much from seasonal averages, rain and stormy weather will last well into the weekend across most of the country, in a repeat of last weekend.

In some parts of central France, 25mm of rain fell in the first few hours of the morning, with the conditions set to continue.

What can I do during a storm to protect myself?

In the event of a tier two, or yellow, stormy weather warnings in your department, general advice is to stay cautious when going outside and to keep up to date with local weather announcements.

In situations where conditions are more severe and the warning level is raised, or if you simply are worried about potential damage to your property, we have compiled a checklist below of what steps to take:

1: Prune trees and hedges in your garden – dead or damaged branches are more likely to split off and fly away during a storm, so you should keep up to date with gardening work to prevent this. Plant pots should also be moved so they are not in the wind’s flight path, especially if small and fragile, or brought inside if there is no outside shelter from the wind.

2: Remove (or fasten) outdoor furniture – not just a lost investment but a dangerous hazard if they fly away during a storm. If possible smaller equipment should be brought inside, and larger pieces should be securely fastened or dismantled or folded up and stowed away. Decorations and accessories like cushions should be put away in a secure box or also brought inside.

3: Check fences, roofs and chimneys are in good condition – you should regularly check that fences around your property are not damaged or loose, and if so fix them. The same goes for roofs, which are susceptible to damage during storms and should be checked after strong weather for tile damage. Tiles that fly off during – or slide off after – a storm can cause serious damage or injury. If you have a chimney you should check it for cracks, and close the flap of your fireplace to prevent wind from entering, and you should clear the fireplace of any ashes.

4:Check your shutters work – and close them during a storm – shutters should regularly be checked, and repaired if they do not close properly, as they provide valuable protection during a storm. You should make sure all doors and windows are shut during a storm, and where applicable, shutters are closed in front of them.

Read also: Is your French property in newly declared drought ‘disaster’ zones?

5: Remove debris from gutters – if your gutters are clogged with dead leaves or other debris, they can quickly cause a flood due to water build up, especially during a storm. Make sure you regularly clean your gutters, and that before a storm they are completely clear from leaves.

6: Park your car in a safe location – one of the biggest causes of injury or damage during a storm is a falling tree or a large piece of debris landing on top of a car. Park it in the garage (if you have one) or away from any trees to minimise the chance of this happening.

7: Have an ‘emergency kit’ with food and equipment – this applies more to those who live in storm hotspots, but it is also useful to have one of these in general. Keep a box in an easy-to-reach but secure location with food, drink, medicine/basic medical gear, a torch, batteries, alongside a phone and phone charger, in case you need any of these or are stuck for prolonged periods. If you use any of the supplies, make sure you replenish them before the next storm.

In the event your house is struck by lightning, you can use an attestation de foudroiement to make an insurance claim, proving the weather situation on the date of the claim – you can find out more about how to get an attestation in our article on the topic.

Related articles

‘Face the reality’: France ‘must prepare’ for +4C global warming

Storm update: Man killed by falling tree in north France