Areas of central and southern Europe have been blasted by strong storms that have killed at least 13 people, including three children. In Italy, Austria, and on the French island of Corsica, there were documented deaths, the majority of which were caused by fallen trees. Campsites on the island were destroyed by strong winds and rain, while in Venice, Italy, stones were blown from the belltower of St. Mark’s Basilica.
Following weeks of scorching and drought across much of the continent, the storms hit. Wind gusts of up to 224 km/h (140 mph) in Corsica destroyed trees and harmed mobile homes. Authorities there said that a 13-year-old girl was murdered on camping by a tree that fell.
An elderly woman was killed when her automobile was struck by the detachable roof of a beach cottage, and a male perished in a similar occurrence. A fisherman and a female kayaker also perished in the ocean.
Later, a sixth death was confirmed by French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who had traveled to Corsica to assess storm damage. Numerous additional persons were hurt on land and in the water. Storms were utterly unexpected, according to witnesses, and no warning was offered, they claimed. According to restaurant owner Cedric Boell, “we have never seen such tremendous storms as this, you would think it was a tropical cyclone.”
On the French mainland, some southern regions experienced power outages, while Marseille, the nation’s second-largest city, experienced flooding. A tree that fell near a lake in Carinthia, Austria, killed two girls. Later, three more fatalities associated with falling trees were reported by the media in the region of Lower Austria. In Italy, two separate events involving falling trees in the Tuscany region resulted in the deaths of a man and a woman.
High winds blew across Venice, dislodging stonework from the cathedral belltower and scattering café umbrellas across St. Mark’s Square. The storms caused damage to seaside resorts in Tuscany and further north in Liguria. However, the heat wave persisted in southern Italy, with Sicily recording highs of 40C.
At least 38 people have also perished in forest fires in Algeria, which is across the Mediterranean Sea. Weeks of unusually hot and dry weather have been seen in several regions of Europe.
Due to human-induced climate change, extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and storms, have gotten worse and more common in recent years.
Since the start of the industrial age, the world has already warmed by around 1.1C, and temperatures will continue to rise unless governments drastically reduce emissions.
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