Severe thunderstorms and hurricane-force winds battered the French island of Corsica on Thursday morning, killing five people and injuring a dozen others, local authorities said.
After three days of intense rain, Thursday’s thunderstorms killed five people, compared to three earlier in the day, Corsican police said.
Hail, heavy rain and measured winds peaking at 224 km per hour (140 mph) swept across the French island as parts of the country – which have been hit by a series of heat waves and severe drought – saw more rain in just a few hours. than in the past few months combined.
Among those killed in Corsica, a major tourist destination, were a 13-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on the campsite where she was staying and a 72-year-old woman whose car was hit by the roof of a beach hut, according to authorities. said.
Rescue operations were taking place along the west coast of Corsica to help several stranded and wrecked vessels, France’s maritime authority for the Mediterranean Sea tweeted.
The President of the Executive Council of Corsica, Gilles Simeoni, described a brief but “extremely violent and totally unpredictable” weather event which lasted “tens of minutes”.
Simeoni told news channel BFM TV that French President Emmanuel Macron called him to share “emotion” and “solidarity”.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted that he planned to visit the island later on Thursday.
I give all my support to the Corsicans who faced violent storms, with gusts of wind at more than 200 km / h. There are already three people dead and several injured. Significant resources are committed. I will be there this afternoon.
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) August 18, 2022
Households without electricity on the continent
After a summer of drought, heat waves and forest fires, violent storms have hit France and neighboring countries in recent days.
On the French mainland, grid operator Enedis said around 1,000 homes were without power after a storm hit southern Loire and Ain departments (administrative units).
Streets flooded in Marseille on Wednesday evening and streams rushed down the steps of the port city, videos shared on social media showed.
Further north, drought has left the Loire, famous for its castles along its banks, so shallow that even flat-bottomed tourist barges can barely navigate it.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)