‘Extremely violent' storms turn deadly as they tear through Europe

·3 min read

Intense thunderstorms swept over the French island of Corsica and tore through parts of Italy and Austria on Thursday, leaving at least 12 people dead, including three children, BBC News reported.

One of those killed was a 13-year-old girl who was climbing a tree when the severe storm passed through the coastal town of Sagone, France, according to The Associated Press (AP).

Gilles Simeoni, president of the Executive Council of Corsica, said the storms were "extremely violent," the AP reported.

The weather pattern across portions of Europe has proven to be a volatile one this week as severe storms have ripped through the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy. AccuWeather forecasters warn that this pattern may continue over the coming days.

The deadly thunderstorms produced damaging wind gusts across most of the island of Corsica, where the highest wind gust of 140 mph (225 km/h) was recorded in Marignana, France, on Thursday morning, according to France's meteorological service, Météo-France. That wind speed is the equivalent to a Category 4 major hurricane in the Atlantic basin.

Il Rousse, France, recorded a wind gust of up to 127 mph (205 km/h). Many other locations across the island endured hurricane-force wind gusts ranging from 90 mph (145 km/h) to at least 122 mph (196 km/h) in the strongest thunderstorms.

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The storms that impacted the island skirted across southern France and into the Alps and northern Italy Wednesday into Wednesday night before arriving in Corsica by late Wednesday into Thursday morning.

Not only did these storms produce hurricane-force winds and prove deadly in Corsica, but torrential downpours also soaked portions of southern France and Hamburg, Germany.

Socoa, France, located in the far southwest portion of the country near the border with Spain, was deluged with over 3 inches (75 mm) of rain early Thursday morning with rainfall rates over 2 inches (50 mm) per hour. Rates of that magnitude can cause intense flash flooding and inundate areas in a matter of minutes.

Paris also experienced a few heavy downpours that caused major urban flooding Wednesday evening into Thursday.

But France was not the only part of Europe that experienced intense rainfall: London had subways turn into rivers Wednesday evening as storms soaked the city. The English capital experienced rapid rainfall rates of over 1 inch (25 mm) per hour as two intense storms moved over the city and caused major urban flooding.

Portions of northern Italy, including Tuscany, were also impacted by severe storms Thursday morning. Towns in the region experienced extreme wind gusts, with peaks estimated at nearly 100 mph (160 km/h) in the area. The strong winds knocked over trees and caused major damage to cars and residential areas. Rubble from damaged businesses and homes covered main streets.

"The area of low pressure that spawned storms in France will continue to move across north-central Italy and across the Alps into western Europe this weekend causing heavy rain and severe thunderstorms once again," AccuWeather Meteorologist Robert Richards said.

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