Unprecedented hailstorm hits French winemakers, causing widespread destruction

Unprecedented hailstorm hits French winemakers, causing widespread destruction

A 'hailstorm of unprecedented violence' hit winemakers in famed Bordeaux and Cognac areas of western France on May 26, 2018. Although the material damage is huge, there are no reports of casualties or injuries.

The storm hit the region around 12:00 local time Saturday, May 26 and lasted for 10 minutes. It hit Gironde area where many of France's most well-known red wines originate, as well as further north in the Charente and Charente-Maritime regions, AFP reports.

"It's a shock. It was a hailstorm of unprecedented violence for 10 minutes," the head of a winegrowers association in the Cotes-de-Bourg area, Didier Gontier, said.

Some 2 000 hectares (5 000 acres) were affected which could bankrupt some growers, particularly those already affected by a late frost last year, Gontier told Franceinfo radio.

Firefighters said they received 500 requests for intervention, mostly for floods and collapsed roofs.

Featured image credit: 20minutes.fr

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