Weather warning: Hurricane-force winds batter holiday hotspot as ferocious storm strikes

Corsica: Storm hits Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport

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Three people, including a teenage girl and an elderly woman, have died after a violent storm unleashed swirling, hurricane-force winds which barrelled through the French island. A further 12 people were injured, including one critically, as rescue operations got underway offshore.

Forecasters said “significant damage” has been caused after 45,000 households were left without electricity.

Hail, heavy rain and winds measured as peaking at 140 mph swept across the French island as parts of the country – which has been hit by a series of heatwaves and severe drought – saw more rain in just a few hours thanin recent months combined.

Authorities revealed a 13-year-old girl died when a tree fell on a campsite and a 72-year-old woman was killed when her car was struck by a beach hut roof.

The third victim died when a tree fell on a bungalow, according to reports in local newspaper Corse Matin.

French weather forecaster Meteo France said the island, a popular tourist destination, was hit by “violent thunderstorms with strong tornado-like gusts… causing significant damage”.

They posted on Twitter: “Corsica is placed on orange alert immediately! Be careful, also for the other hazards related to thunderstorms.”

It comes after France was hit by long drought period, heatwaves and forest fires, this summer.

Forecasters later lifted a major storm warning, indicating the worst had passed for the Mediterranean island.

On France’s mainland, grid operator Enedis said about 1,000 households were without power after a storm hit the southern Loire and Ain departments.

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On Wednesday evening in Marseille, the south of France, videos posted to social media showed streets flooded and streams of water running down steps in the port city.

The city’s main courthouse and many nearby beaches were forced 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”.

Further north, drought has left the river Loire, famous for castles along its banks, so shallow that even flat-bottomed tourist barges can barely navigate it.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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