Storms in Corsica and parts of Italy leave seven dead | Extreme weather

Violent thunderstorms with winds of up to 139 mph (224 km/h) have hit the Mediterranean island of Corsica and parts of Italykilling seven people and leaving at least a dozen more injured.

In Corsica, a 13-year-old girl died after a tree fell on a camp where she was staying in the south, while a 46-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on a bungalow camp in the northern town of Calvi. . A 72-year-old woman was killed when the roof of a beach hut blew off and hit her car.

Two people were killed in separate incidents in Tuscany when storms uprooted trees on Thursday, one near the city of Lucca and another near Carrara. Four other people were injured by falling trees at a camp near Carrara.

In Venice, hurricane-force winds tore brick fragments from the bell tower of San Marco.

the weather France The weather service issued another severe weather alert for Corsica, but said “expected wind gusts with thunderstorms overnight through Friday will be much less violent than Thursday morning.”

The storms came after three days of heavy rain in the region, which has endured a summer of extreme heat, drought Y raging forest fires that scientists have linked to human-caused climate change.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of all camps in Corsica and rescue operations were launched along the western coast of the island in response to SOS calls from stranded and wrecked boats. Dozens of other vessels signaled for emergency help.

Rescue teams found the bodies of a 62-year-old fisherman and an unidentified kayaker off the west and east coasts of Corsica, according to the French maritime authority for the Mediterranean. He said both died as a result of the sudden storm and that more than 100 boats stranded, wrecked or stranded in the area had called for emergency help.

In Corsica, some 45,000 houses were left without power on Thursday and at least 12 people were injured and taken to hospital, one in critical condition, island authorities said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he had called an emergency government meeting via videoconference on Thursday night to respond to the crisis.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin traveled to the island on Thursday and visited the worst affected areas, including the camps where people died. He said at one point some 350 people had been reported missing because pleasure boats had capsized or been drifted, but now all had been found alive and well.

The president of Corsica’s executive council, Gilles Simeoni, described a brief but “extremely violent and totally unpredictable” weather event that lasted “dozens of minutes”.

In Venice, strong winds ripped chunks of brick from the bell tower of San Marco, which stands in front of the famous cathedral. Tourists were evacuated from the structure, which was cordoned off. The storm overturned chairs and tables in St. Mark’s Square and elsewhere, and swept away beach chairs at nearby Lido.

The winds picked up suddenly and died down within five minutes, said Carlo Alberto Tesserin, the caretaker of the basilica and bell tower. “These were not usual winds for us,” Tesserin told the Associated Press.

Cedric Boell, manager of the Les Gones Corses restaurant in northern Corsica, said: “We have never seen such a big storm like this, one would think it was a tropical storm.”

Yolhan Niveau, 24, a wildlife photographer staying at a Corsican campsite near San-Nicolao in the northeast, said the storm had lashed the site, uprooting trees and damaging mobile homes. “There was no warning. … I don’t feel fear, only stupefaction. No one expected this.”

Meteo France had given no advance warning and said the exact location of the storms was difficult to predict. It issued an alert with “immediate effect” when strong winds began to hit the island.

In northern Italy, an overnight storm forced the closure of a railway southeast of Genoa after strong winds blew structures from the beach onto the tracks, damaging the electrical circuit.

The storm hit during the holiday week on Italy’s busiest beach. The mayor of Sestri Levante, Valentina Ghio, warned that whirlwinds were possible and called on visitors to stay away from the beaches until the bad weather passes.

Walnut-sized hailstones hit Italy’s Liguria region with enough force to shatter windows and damage orchards and gardens.

While northern Italy has suffered its worst drought in decades this year, heavy rains in recent days that triggered hailstorms, whirlwinds and scattered flooding damaged or destroyed entire fruit and vegetable crops along with vineyards and olive groves, according to the group. Italian agricultural pressure Coldiretti. .

On Wednesday, sudden thunderstorms caused flash flooding in Paris metro stations and in the Old Port of Marseille. The day before, winds of more than 60 mph (100 km/h) were recorded at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

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