French weather alerts raised as violent storms head to south-west

Up to 50 mm of rain and hail is forecast. Elsewhere highs of 40C may be reached in Corsica

Heightened alerts have been raised in four departments
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Violent storms are set to batter the south-west of France this evening, leading to heightened storm warnings being put in place across swathes of France. 

The storms will sweep in from the gulf of Gascogne in the afternoon, hitting coastal areas before moving inland within the region. 

During the course of the night the storms will move northwards, towards the Massif Central and the Centre-Val de Loire.

Currently, 12 departments are facing heightened tier-three orange warnings over the storms. These are the Dordogne, Gironde, Charente, Landes,Haute-Vienne, Creuse, Cher, Nièvre,  Indre, Yonne, Côte-D'Or, and Lot-et-Garonne. 

Around half of departments in France are facing tier-two warnings for storms and heavy rain, mostly in the south-west and centre, and north of the Seine river.

A less powerful storm will hit the north of France this morning, affecting Brittany and areas close to the Belgian border.

The heightened alerts will come into force around 18:00, and return to a lower-tier warning at midnight, once they move north and begin to disperse. 

Read more: What action is advised with different Météo France weather warnings

Read more: Weather in France June 17 - June 21: Forecast by area this week

 Storms last night saw around 40 mm of rain fall in around 15 minutes in parts of the Charente department. 

The excess rainfall, followed by hail, led to the destruction of some vineyards used for Cognac production, and caused delays to local rail services around Poitou. 

Services to La Rochelle and Bordeaux were slightly impacted.

Hail, flash floods, and gales expected 

Heavy rainfall is predicted in the south-west, with up to 50 mm falling locally over a 24-hour period between Tuesday (June 18) and Wednesday (June 19) evenings. 

Winds, especially in coastal areas, may reach 100 km/h. Hail, measuring up to 2cm in diameter, is also forecast. 

Although the main passage of the storm will move north and east overnight, some of these conditions may continue locally in the area throughout Wednesday morning.

A new bout of stormy weather will return to the south-west – particularly in the Pyrénées – on Thursday (June 20).

The south is expected to be untouched by the storms and temperatures there will remain high today - as they will in the south-west before the storm arrives.

In Corsica, temperatures may reach 40C in some areas, as hot Saharan winds push through the Mediterranean. 

You can keep up to date with all weather alerts via the official Météo France website

Note that warning levels are likely to change multiple times during the course of a day, particularly during cases of extreme weather. 

Read more: Storms in France: what to do if at home, out walking or in car