NewsWorldThree killed in Corsica, Marseille flooded as storms batter France

Three killed in Corsica, Marseille flooded as storms batter France

Three people including a teenage girl and an elderly woman died on Thursday (August 18) as a violent storm that unleashed swirling, hurricane-force winds battered Corsica, leaving 45,000 households without electricity.

Hail, heavy rain and winds measured as peaking at 224 km per hour (140 mph) swept across the French island as parts of the country – which has been hit by a series of heatwaves and severe drought – saw more rain in just a few hours than in recent months combined.

A 13-year-old girl died when a tree fell on a campsite and a 72-year-old woman was killed when her car was struck by a beach hut roof, authorities said. The third victim died when a tree fell on a bungalow, local newspaper Corse Matin reported.

French weather forecaster Meteo France said the island, a popular tourist destination, was hit by “violent thunderstorms with strong tornado-like gusts… causing significant damage.”

At least twelve people were injured, including one critically, and rescue operations were under way offshore, authorities added.

On France’s mainland, on Wednesday (August 17) evening in Marseille, streets were flooded and streams of water ran down steps in the port city, videos shared on social media showed.

Six months worth of rain submerged the city within 24 hours, according to French weather channel La Chaine Meteo.

France’s story episode comes abruptly after a string of summer heatwaves and amid drought on a nationwide scale.

“The storms… bring extremely significant quantities of water within a very short time period, and often, these waters could not be absorbed by the soil and fill reserves, and so it will remain on the surface,” said Eric Sauquet, the head of hydrology at France’s INRAE institute.

“That means that in the end, the water will disappear very quickly through the water system and not be very beneficial in the restoring water in rivers,” he added.


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