Corsica storms: Three killed, several injured as hurricane-force winds hit French island

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At least three people have been killed after violent thunderstorms hit the French island of Corsica on Thursday morning.

A further 12 people were injured — including one in critical condition — as heavy rain and winds of up to 222 kph were registered in some areas on the island.

The Corsica prefecture said in a statement that a 13-year-old girl died after a tree fell on a campsite in the coastal town of Sagone. The third fatality was a 46-year-old man killed in the town of Calvi.

About 45,000 households were left without power on the island because of the storms, according to the French electricity company EDF.

The country’s maritime authority said it was also conducting around 60 rescue operations along the west coast of the Mediterranean island after several ships were grounded.

After a summer of drought, heatwaves and forest fires, violent storms have hit France and neighbouring countries in recent days.

The Météo-France weather agency said that some areas of Corsica had registered more rain in a few hours than in the last few months combined.

In southern France, thunderstorms on Wednesday flooded the Old Port of Marseille and the city’s main courthouse and forced many nearby beaches to close. Around 1,000 households were without electricity in the southern Loire and Ain regions. 

The mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, said on Twitter that more water has fallen “in 24 hours than since the beginning of the year”.

Winds over 100 kph were also recorded at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris amid a flash flood on Tuesday. The cities of Saint-Etienne and Lyon have also reported flooding in some areas.