Heavy rain and strong winds have caused major disruption across many parts of southern France with almost a year's worth of rain falling on the Hérault department, home to the Mediterranean towns of Montpellier and Béziers.

"/> Heavy rain and strong winds have caused major disruption across many parts of southern France with almost a year's worth of rain falling on the Hérault department, home to the Mediterranean towns of Montpellier and Béziers.

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WEATHER

One year’s worth of rain in four days

Heavy rain and strong winds have caused major disruption across many parts of southern France with almost a year's worth of rain falling on the Hérault department, home to the Mediterranean towns of Montpellier and Béziers.

National weather agency Météo France still had orange alerts in place, one step down from its maximum red alert, across ten southern departments on Friday morning. 

Cities including Marseille, Montpellier and Lyon were all affected by the weather, which Météo France expects to worsen again on Friday evening.

In the Hérault region, 70 centimetres (27.5 inches) of rain fell in four days.

The river Hérault avoided bursting its banks and flooding the village of Laroque after rain eased overnight, although more is expected later in the day.

Elsewhere, people were evacuated from their homes as the danger of flooding increased.

A number of schools were closed across the region on Friday as transport was made impossible by flooded roads. Train services have also been disrupted and drivers have been warned to exercise “extreme caution.”

France Télécom said in a statement it had mobilized 1,000 engineers to deal with network problems caused by the storms. The company said 4,000 lines had been cut off in the Languedoc-Roussillon region on Thursday.

Ecology minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said the storms were exceptional. She advised local residents to avoid driving or walking on flooded roads.

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WEATHER

So did Sweden beat its all-time temperature record on Thursday? Not quite

Sweden on Thursday came close to beating its 75-year-old temperature record, but fell short by just under one degree with a top temperature of 37.2C.

So did Sweden beat its all-time temperature record on Thursday? Not quite

The village of Målilla in Småland came close to beating the 38C heat record it set in 1947, logging a temperature of 37.2C. 

“It’s the highest temperature recorded in Sweden since 1947,” Mattias Lind, a meteorologist at Sweden’s state forecaster SMHI, told the country’s TT newswire. 

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As the punishing heat seen across the rest of Europe briefly rose up to touch Sweden, several cities beat their own records, with Linköping setting a new record with a 36.9C temperature. The city of Jönköping, with 35.3C, recorded the highest temperature since records began in 1858. 

Even the north of Sweden saw the mercury rise above 30C, with Gävle recording a temperature of 33.5C.

Temperatures are forecast to drop significantly on Friday, sinking below 20C across the country on Saturday, with thunder storms expected in many areas. 

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