France’s exceptionally long and chilly spring was finally broken by a much welcomed hot spell in July. But with it has come intense heat and humidity that has provoked storms nearly everyday in some part of the country.
Yesterday, 750 residents in the Loire region saw the roofs of their houses peeled off by heavy hail, while 23,000 homes were left without electricity in the Dordogne and Limousin departments.
For wine producers, the weather has been particularly brutal. Last Friday, 7,000 of the Bordeaux region’s 37,000 hectares of vineyards saw 80 to 100 percent of their crop destroyed by storms. In the last month, the Beaujolais region has lost around 100 hectares of vineyards to bad weather, while Borgogne has seen 35 to 40 percent of its crop damaged.
Meteorologists say the heavy storms are a result of the high heat that accumulated in July, in combination with a cold air stream coming from the Atlantic. Several of the storm cells formed at high altitudes – sometimes up to 15 kilometres – adding to the intensity of wind, hail and lightening.
From 1 to 31 July, lightening struck France 527,496 times – a rate five times higher than last year. The 27th of July recorded a record 284,163 strikes of lightening across the country. In the last one hundred years, this year’s July ranks within the top three in bad weather.
While the beginning of August’s weather has been particularly violent, France can expect a calmer end of the month, with few storms expected across the country.