Violent storms slam France with hail, rain and heavy winds

After a summer of drought, heat waves and forest fires, violent storms are whipping France and have flooded Paris subway stations and snarled traffic.

Water pours into Paris subway stations, snarls traffic in French capital


A storm finally broke the heat wave in Paris, France, on Tuesday, but the rainfall was so severe that it flooded streets and flowed down into the city's metro stations.

After a summer of drought, heat waves and forest fires, violent storms are whipping France and have flooded Paris subway stations and snarled traffic.

Winds of more than 100 km/h were recorded at the top of the Eiffel Tower during a flash flood Tuesday, and similar winds were forecast Wednesday in the southeast.

Hail hammered Paris and other regions in Tuesday's sudden storm. Rainwater gushed down metro station stairwells and onto platforms, and cars sloshed along embankments where the Seine River broke its banks.

In southern France, thunderstorms overnight and Wednesday flooded the Old Port of Marseille and the city's main courthouse and forced the closure of nearby beaches.

As scattered storms swept across Belgium on Wednesday, one flooded parts of the historic town of Ghent following weeks of unrelenting drought.

England hit with torrential rain, thunderstorms

London and other parts of southern England were lashed with torrential rain and thunderstorms after one of the driest summers on record which gave the country its first-ever 40 C temperature last month.

There was widespread flash flooding as the downpours fell on parched ground.

Despite the rain, much of Britain is still officially in drought. Thames Water, which supplies 15 million people in and around London, says a ban on watering lawns and gardens will take effect Aug. 24.

Much of Western Europe has experienced a season of extreme weather that scientists link to human-made climate change.

The dramatic downpours put an end to weeks of historic heat that left much of France parched, rivers dry and dozens of villages without running water.

Across much of Europe this summer, a series of heat waves has compounded a critical drought, creating prime wildfire conditions.

Rainfall in recent days has eased the burden on firefighters facing France's worst fire season in the past decade, though emergency authorities said scattered wildfires continued to burn Wednesday in southwest France.

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