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Bordeaux vines destroyed by hail as two nights of storms hit France

Grapes hit by hail in 2011
Grapes hit by hail in 2011 AFP

Almost 1,000 hectares of vines were ravaged by hail in the world-famous Bordeaux vineyards in two nights of storms that have hit France. Forecasters have lifted storm warnings for Tuesday after hail, torrential rain and lightning hit much of the country on Monday night.

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The Météo France weather service lifted its orange storm warning (the second-highest level) for 41 departments, from Aquitaine in the west to the Belgian frontier, on Tuesday morning.

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But storms and temperatures over 30°C were expected in the eastern city of Strasbourg, where the thermometer hit 37°C on Monday remaining at 29°C at midnight.

Winemakers in Bordeaux’s Médoc appellation were counting the cost of hail that hit up to 1,000 hectares of vines with local officials preparing to declare a state of natural catastrophe, opening the way to financial aid to any whose crops have been severely affected.

Around the village of Blaignan about 680 hectares were hit by hailstones up to two centimetres in diameter.

The majority of growers affected are not the big cru classé claret houses but family-run vineyards, mostly not insured for weather-related damage, some of whom have lost their whole crop.

The area was badly hit by storms last summer.

Vineyards in Charente, the home of Cognac brandy, were also hit by hail and winds of up to 130km per hour, with roofs damaged, houses flooded and many homes suffering power cuts.

In the Paris region the worst-affected area was to the east of the capital in Essonne and Seine-et-Marne, where there were hailstones of up to 10 centimetres’ diameter, according to Météo France, and roofs damaged or destroyed.

Stormy weather was expected to continue in the east of the country on Tuesday but move into Belgium during the day.
 

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