Thunderstorm forecast: Rain breaks European heat wave as orange alerts are issued | Weather | New

Europe faces forest fires and drought after heat wave

Five departments in the south of France were given orange thunderstorm alerts on Tuesday after last week’s sweltering heatwave gave way to wet and more aggressive weather. Throughout the evening and night, clouds from France will gradually spread over Belgium. In Spain, forecasters have also issued warnings – coastal regions of Catalonia and the north are particularly exposed to strong gusts of wind and large waves.

The most affected regions of France could experience winds of up to 100 km / h, while rainfall could reach 120 mm per hour.

The departments affected are Aveyron, Tarn, Aude, Hérault and Gard, where orange vigilance came into effect at 4 p.m. local time.

All the other metropolitan departments were already under yellow storm alert.

The national meteorological service Météo France described the weather on Tuesday as “strongly stormy” and requiring “particular vigilance” on the part of the inhabitants.

The rain came in from the northwest and spread to the southwest during the morning.

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Thunderstorms sweep across Europe as last week’s heatwave gives way to intense rain (Image: GETTY/WXCHARTS)

In the afternoon, the storm is expected to become more violent, reaching the Massif Central, the highlands region in the center of southern France, and regions further east.

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The French should expect major thunder and lightning, hailstorms, wind gusts of 80 to 100 km / h and heavy rain, with showers of 20 to 40 mm over an hour in certain areas, said Meteo France.

In some regions of Hérault and Gard, rainfall could reach 120 mm per hour.

The National Weather Service has urged the public to beware of the risk of flash flooding as three weeks to a month of downpours will fall over the next two days.

After the last months of scorching sun, water cannot easily penetrate the dry soils of France.

The deputy mayor of Alès (Gard), Christian Rivenq, declared: “To avoid taking risks, we are preparing for the worst. We hope that the reality will be lower than forecast.

“It comes a little early in the season because of the intense heat [of the last few weeks]because this type of event is generally expected from September 10.”

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Speaking to franceinfo, Mr Rivenq added that Alès crisis management measures had been activated and that staff were monitoring the evolution of the weather situation.

He said: “We are lucky to have tools that we didn’t have 20 years ago.

“We are cleaning the pipes because with the drought, the leaves have fallen. We must clean so that the water system can operate at full speed in the event of a storm, to avoid flooding of the cellars and spaces on the ground floor. -pavement.

“We also work on the parks. And we carry out a lot of prevention [work]warn people.”

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Rainy Asturias, Spain

Two men walking in the rain in Asturias, where a yellow alert has been issued (Image: GETTY)

In neighboring Belgium, as temperatures still hit 30C and the sun shone in some areas on Tuesday morning, thunderstorms emerged in the afternoon.

Rainfall could already be heavy overnight, with minimum temperatures between 15C and 19C, with often light and variable winds, according to the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI).

Wednesday will be unstable with periods of rain and showers, sometimes intense and stormy according to the RMI, and hail and gales are to be expected.

Highs will be considerably lower ranging from 21C to 26C.

Thursday, once the possible fogs and mists have dissipated, the sky should become quickly changeable with some additional showers, sometimes intense even stormy.

In Spain, six municipalities are on alert.

Firefighters battle a blaze in Portugal

Firefighters tackle a wildfire in the Serra da Estrela Natural Park in central Portugal (Image: GETTY)

Forest fire in Portugal

Some 80,000 hectares have become a smoke zone in Portugal this year (Image: GETTY)

Aragon and Catalonia are at an orange level due to a significant risk of strong coastal phenomena, especially in the Bay of Biscay, and due to thunderstorms and rain in the northeast.

At the yellow level are the communities of Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia and Navarre, AEMET said.

Meanwhile, Portugal continues to battle wildfires that proved devastating throughout the summer.

The country is experiencing an exceptional drought this year, with its hottest July in nearly a century.

Since the start of 2022, around 80,000 hectares have already become a smoke zone, the largest area since the deadly 2017 fires that killed 100 people, according to the Institute for Conservation.

On Monday, a forest fire in the Serra da Estrela natural park in central Portugal, declared under control last week, broke out again, according to civil protection.

More than a thousand firefighters were deployed Tuesday morning.

Rescuers described outbreaks of “violent behavior”, driven by “a strong wind”.

Civil Defense Commander André Fernandez told a press conference that several villages had been evacuated as a precaution.

The Serra da Estrela fire began on August 6 and reached its peak at an altitude of around 2,000 meters, destroying the unique forest areas of the UNESCO-recognized Global Geopark in which the mountain range is located.