Environment

With 182 000 lightning strikes in May, France doubles its record, 4 killed in recent storms


With 182 000 lightning strikes in May 2018, France has almost doubled its previous record figure for the same month set in 2009. Four lives were lost over the past two weeks.

The storms brought a record number of lightning strikes as well as record amounts of rain in some areas.

According to Meteo France, the number of lightning strikes across the country in May 2018 reached 182 000, which is almost double the previous record for May set in 2009.

Two deaths on Wednesday, June 6 brought the death toll from the recent record storm to four. On June 5, a 37-year old man was found drowned in his car in northern France, The Local reports. On June 6, an elderly woman died in Montmorillon, central France, probably suffering a heart attack while trying to mop up the water in her flooded home. The third victim was a woman in her 80s who drowned in a river in the Lot-et-Garonne region of southern France and the fourth was a six-year-old girl who fell to her death from the branches of a tree during a fierce storm on May 26.

Since the severe weather began on May 25, emergency services have carried out over 8 000 flood and severe weather-related interventions.

Below is a summary of the most significant storms in France since late April 2018:

On April 29, an intense storm accompanied by tornadoes and strong winds caused significant material damage in three villages in the department of Marne. No official wind speed measurements could be made in the Marne, but the notable damage – collapsed buildings, roofs and uprooted trees – makes it possible to affirm that the gusts reached locally between 150 and 200 km/h (93 – 124 mph). Three people were injured when a tree fell on their car.

A severe storm swept over the capital Paris on May 22, flooding streets and Metro stations. Just a few days before, an intense storm further down in Vaucluse destroyed almost a year’s worth of Luberon cherry tree crops.

A ‘hailstorm of unprecedented violence‘ hit winemakers in famed Bordeaux and Cognac areas of western France on May 26. Some 2 000 hectares (5 000 acres) were affected which could bankrupt some growers, particularly those already affected by a late frost last year

 

On June 3 and 4, a severe storm hit Brittany, northwestern France, dumping a month’s worth of rain on the city of Morlaix in less than an hour.

Featured image: Storm over Brittany, France on June 3, 2018. Credit: Sandaille La Bataille – Couleurs Météo Bretagne



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