Clothilde Dumay 2:37 p.m., August 16, 2022

After a short respite, severe thunderstorms are back in France.

Météo France has placed five departments in the south of France on orange alert for the risk of thunderstorms.

Tarn, Aveyron, Aude, Hérault and Gard are concerned.

The historic drought that hit the whole country this summer has something to do with it... 

After the heat wave, place to thunderstorms.

Five departments, Aude, Tarn, Aveyron, Hérault and Gard have been placed on orange alert.

The rain will fall heavily and there is a risk of flooding in some areas.

These episodes are due to a historic drought.

All the parameters are there for violent oranges, starting with the high temperature of the Mediterranean, which could play a role in the intensity of the storms, according to Serge Zaka.

He is an agro-climatologist at ITK.

Lots of water on extremely dry ground

"When we accumulate heat, it's as if we were accumulating energy", he explains on Europe 1. "In 2022, we observed water temperature records. We also have records of energy that are stored in this water and that can fuel storms".

Add to that thunderstorms which will move very slowly and which will therefore have time to dump a lot of water on an already extremely dry ground.

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A "slide" effect

"It's a soil that hasn't received any water for months", underlines Serge Zaka.

"It's a soil that will form a kind of crust on the surface that is impermeable. And to lift this impermeable crust, it takes precipitation several times. The crust at ground level has not been broken, so the soil will to play a toboggan role, instead of playing a sponge role. This toboggan effect will cause all this water to run off into the lowlands, at the level of the vineyards or even in the villages".

The agro-climatologist therefore advises to stay at home, even to go upstairs if possible, and not to drive in a car if there is more than five centimeters of water and to listen to the information.