Elsewhere in Weather News: July 27th, 2013

France Faces Severe Storms; More Coming Today

France has had its fair share of severe storms this past week, with more of it expected to come today (Saturday). A level 3 “severe” thunderstorm, the highest risk possible, has been issued by ESTOFEX (European Storm Forecast Experiment) for the northern half of France. Conditions are favorable for tornadoes with a warm front draped across the region and incoming cold front from the west; an upper-level low spinning off the coast of France over the Atlantic will provide sufficient destabilization in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

ESTOFEX forecast

ESTOFEX forecast for today, risk 3 in northern France, Belgium, Netherlands and northwest Germany. Highest risk for large tornadoes resides here. (Source: ESTOFEX)

The only potential flaw in the setup could be due to the large MCS that fired up on Friday evening in west-central France as it continues to move northeast potentially leaving debris cloud in the region this morning. But with that said, as of Friday evening, the MCS was moving fairly quickly, and at this rate would be out of the region in time for tomorrow’s setup. With dewpoints in the low twenty Celsius range, shear plentiful with the approaching upper-level trough, and a great shear profile, all kinds of severe weather could be in play, including powerful tornadoes. The severe weather risk also extends into northwest Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

MCS and upper level low

Upper level low spinning off the coast of France and MCS in orange box that could hinder storm activity tomorrow. Infrared satellite image taken Friday evening. (Infrared satellite image source: Weather Online)

The expected severe weather follows a significant weather outbreak that occurred in France on Tuesday afternoon. Strong storms passed through the Burgundy region dropping large hail (between ping-pong and golf ball size) and causing significant damage to vineyards. In this region, crop losses are as much as 75% in the hardest hit areas. Flooding was also an issue, where some main roads such as the one between Pommard and Volnay were flooded out and impassable.

In 2008 an EF-4 tornado touched down around Hautmont, France and caused 4 fatalities and 18 injuries. Severe weather is not that common of an occurrence in France, with only a couple outbreaks per year.


Matt has been a member of the AWM team since January 2012, writing the weekly feature Elsewhere in Weather News which highlights weather news from across the globe. Matt has lived in Winnipeg all his life and has been a weather enthusiast since a very young age. He is currently completing his B.Sc. in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Manitoba.

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