A town in southeast France saw more than 10cm of hailstones accumulate on the ground last night (September 14) as a violent storm moved over the area.

The episode lasted from 22:30 until midnight, covering the town of Gap in the Hautes-Alpes in a blanket of icy residue which was 15cm thick in some places, according to Météo Alpes Durance.

Some residents had to use a shovel to clear the pavement outside their houses.

Meteorologist Paul Marquis said that the hail storm was "exceptional", adding: "This type of phenomenon remains really rare, especially in terms of the quantity [of hail] seen."

In some areas of Gap, cellars were flooded as a result of the storm, and torrents of water were seen running down several different streets.

Firefighters were called out to about 15 incidents during the evening, mostly to pump water out of cellars. They said that there was no serious damage done, although a few trees did fall during the episode.

Gap's local authority said that its services were deployed to clear several streets of fallen trees, hail and other debris, and Le Dauphiné libéré reports that 130 streets have experienced power cuts.

Today (September 15), the weather is calmer, and Hautes-Alpes is not under any weather alert.

However, there are 40 departments which are under a yellow warning for storms and, in some cases, floods.

The affected departments are mainly in the east, far south and south west of France. You can find out more on the Météo France website.

France set for a cold snap

After seeing temperatures of up to 39C earlier this week - with several seasonal records set in western France - the country is set to experience a cold spell this weekend.

Temperatures will drop across France by 10-15C compared to the beginning of the week, settling at approximately 3C below seasonal averages, which has not happened since early April, forecaster Chaîne Météo said.

On Friday afternoon, Météo France is predicting that it will be 16C in Paris and Amiens and 15C in Lyon and Strasbourg.

"From Thrusday, an anticyclone will push [temperatures] up over the British Isles, while a depression will form between Scandinavia and central Europe," Chaîne Météo explained.

"Between these two systems, a flow from the north will settle over France and cause a notable drop in temperatures.

"This drop will begin on Thursday in the northern half [of the country], before spreading to the rest of the country on Friday."

On Sunday morning, temperatures are forecast to sit at 9C in La Rochelle and Paris, and 6C in Rennes.

In the afternoon, Nice, Perpignan and Corsica will see the warmest conditions, with highs of 24C in the mainland cities and 25C in Ajaccio.