AT LEAST six have been killed including a British woman after violent thunderstorms swept across the island of Corsica yesterday.
Rescuers found the body of the holidaymaker near Bastia in the north of the island after her husband told cops she had gone missing while kayaking.
In southern Corsica, a 13-year-old girl died when a tree fell at a campsite and a 72-year-old woman was killed when her car was struck by a beach hut roof, authorities said.
A 46-year old Frenchman died when a tree fell on a campsite bungalow in the north, authorities said. A 23-year-old Italian woman was injured at the same location and taken to hospital in critical condition.
A fisherman and someone who was out canoeing also died, authorities said. Interior Minister Darmanin did not give details on the sixth death.
Footage showed hail, heavy rain and 140 mph winds battering the island with trees falling onto homes and campsites while many households were left without power.
Cedric Boell, manager of the restaurant Les Gones Corses in northern Corsica, said: “We have never seen such huge storms as this, you would think it was a tropical storm,”
Yolhan Niveau, 24, a wildlife photographer staying at a campsite near San-Nicolao in the northeast of the island, said the storm had torn through the site, uprooting trees and damaging mobile homes.
He said: “There was no warning. … I don’t feel scared just stupefaction. No one expected this.”
In central Italy, two people were killed by falling trees on Thursday as powerful storms battered several regions.
Local authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of all campsites in southern Corsica last night after warnings of another wave of storms.
On France’s mainland, households were left without power after a storm hit the southern Loire and Ain departments, while on Wednesday evening in Marseille, streets were flooded and streams of water ran down steps in the port city, videos shared on social media showed.
The storm raged as many areas of France – which has been hit by heatwaves and severe drought – saw more rain in a few hours than in recent months combined.
Meteo France, which said that the exact location of storms was hard to predict, had not given advance warning.
It issued an alert with “immediate effect” as strong winds began to hit the island.
They said: “Storms formed at sea will affect large parts of the western Corsica coast throughout the night from Thursday to Friday,”
French President Emmanuel Macron said he had called an emergency government meeting by video conference on Thursday evening to respond to the crisis.
Visiting Corsica, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that at one point about 350 people had been reported missing as pleasure boats had capsized or been thrown adrift, but he added they had now all been found alive and well.
Witnesses of the morning storm, which wrecked campsites, delayed trains and uprooted trees, said they had never seen anything like it on the island.