Over a dozen die as storm shreds European countries - GulfToday

Over a dozen die as storm shreds European countries


People stand on the beach of Sagone where boats has been thrown; campers pack what is left of their destroyed tents during storm in Corsica on Friday. AFP

Authorities in Germany warned of heavy rainfall in the south on Friday and put air rescue services on high alert, after severe storms killed at least 13 people elsewhere in Europe.

Five people died and around twenty others were injured after the unexpected storm had battered Corsica on Thursday.

Two girls, ages 4 and 8, were killed when sudden strong winds toppled trees late on Thursday at a lake in the Lavant Valley of southern Austria. Officials said 13 people were injured, two of them seriously. Many of the victims were vacationers visiting the tourist region.

Heavy storms caused power outages that forced Austria’s national rail company OBB to halt all train services in much of the southern provinces of Styria and Carinthia, which border Slovenia and Italy, OBB said in a statement. Many roads in Styria and Carinthia were also closed, a drivers’ group said.

StormFrance France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (L) walks by a damaged car as he visits the storm hit area in Sagone. AFP

Austrian President Alexander Van Der Bellen called the children’s deaths “an unfathomable tragedy.” The mayor of the nearby town of Wolfsberg, Hannes Primus, said the area looked “like a battlefield.”

In Lower Austria, three women were killed when lightning struck a tree near the central town of Gaming, causing it to fall over.

StormFrance-1 A destroyed car is parked in the Sagone camping site, where a tree fell on a bungalow during storm. AFP

Fierce storms also killed at least eight people in France and Italy on Thursday night.

Germany’s national weather service DWD warned of “extremely abundant, prolonged rain” along the edge of the Alps could drop as much as 140 litres of water per square meter (5.5 inches) over a 48-hour period that could cause flooding.

The Bavarian Red Cross said it was raising the alarm level for its air rescue specialists, putting helicopter crews on heightened alert.

The deadly storms follow weeks of heatwave and drought across the Europe.

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