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Severe storms hit parts of southern Europe, fatalities reported in France, Spain and Italy


Severe storms swept through parts of southern Europe, including France, Italy, and Spain over the past few days, bringing very heavy to record rain. After two days of heavy rainfall, travel warnings have been issued in Spain and France while Italy remained under alert. Several flood-related casualties have also been reported.

In northeastern Spain, the extreme weather conditions caused travel disruptions and left several people dead or missing.

A tornado also hit the island of Ibiza, causing a tree to crash through a window of a holidaymaker's villa. Huge shards of glass were scattered across the room. The horrifying moment was captured on a video by Emma Deeley and her relatives, who were in Ibiza to celebrate her birthday.

"My sister was going to go outside and save a pink flamingo blow-up pool toy from blowing over the balcony but suddenly the wind and rain became really intense," Deeley said.

She further described the situation, saying "Pool water started swirling and we shut the doors to the terrace. Then the rain intensified and as I filmed through a window on the left, just to the side of me on the right, a tree came crashing through the window, sending huge shards of glass across the entire lounge and kitchen."

"The power was lost, everything went dark and the rain was pouring through the opening in the room. We were really frightened. Hearing the crash of the tree and the glass flying everywhere was terrifying," Deeley added.

Catalonia, a region in northeast Spain, experienced torrential conditions for the second time in just two months.

Meanwhile, in France, several roads were also blocked following the harsh weather which resulted in swollen rivers. The waters eventually burst their banks.

At least three people have died in the departments of Herault, Gard, and Pyrenees-Orientales following the floods. Eight departments have been placed under high alert, and nearly 1 800 operations have been carried out by French rescue workers.

Over 1 000 flood-stricken residents had to be transferred to emergency shelters.

The area saw 240 mm (9.4 inches) of rain in the past 24 hours according to forecasters, which is a 50-year record. More than 1 000 people whose homes had been flooded have had to be given emergency shelter.  In addition, 700 homes in Herault and Gard remain without electricity.

2 000 emergency personnel have been deployed to respond to the aftermath of the storms.

In Italy, officials reported two casualties in flood-related incidents. A 75-year old man who was initially reported as missing was found dead on a beach in the town of Caldes d'Estrac, 40 km (25 miles) north of Barcelona.

According to meteorologists, the heavy rain is linked to a cold front known as a high-level isolated depression which is usually caused by a slow-moving thunderstorm.

Featured image credit: Meteored/YouTube

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