On August 18th, 2022, violent thunderstorms and Hurricane force winds would leave at least 8 civilians dead in France and Italy. Trees were being uprooted in Tuscany, on the French Island of Corsica, and bricks were being ripped away from St. Mark’s famous bell tower in Venice. Over 100 boats in the Mediterranean Sea got caught in the storms and called for emergency help, according to authorities.
Some of these storms would produce wind gusts of more than 130 mph in areas, according to the National weather agency, Metro France. Around 45,000 households were without power on the Island of Corsica, where six individuals were killed. Dozens of people would be injured and 12 got hospitalized in Corsica, one in critical condition according to authorities. Two regions in Italy, Tuscany, and Veneto both declared a state of emergency. Two more people would be killed in separate incidents in Tuscany when trees were ripped up by the storms and winds on Thursday, one would be near the city of Lucca and the other near Carrara. Four more people were injured by trees falling down near the city of Carrara.
Storms in recent days before August 18th slammed Western European countries after a summer of crazy weather, but meanwhile, their neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe are still suffering exceptional heat waves and droughts.
In Venice, high Hurricane like winds detached pieces of bricks from the famous St. Marks bell tower, which also stands in front of the famed cathedral. Tourists that were currently visiting would be quickly evacuated from the old structure. The storm would upend chairs and tables in St. Mark’s Square and other tourist attractions. “Winds rose suddenly and were calmed within five minutes,” said Carlo Alberto Tesserin, who is the caretaker of the Basilica and bell tower, he also added that “these were not usual winds for us,” Tesserin told The Associated Press.
Also in Northern Italy, an overnight storm forced the closures of a train line southeast of Genoa after high winds carried beach structures on the train tracks, damaging the electrical circuits. These storms struck during Italy’s bustiest beach vacation week. The mayor of Sestri Levanti and Valentina Ghio warned that whirlwinds were possible and told visitors to stay away from the beaches until the severe weather had passed thru.
There was hail the size of walnuts that pummeled Italy’s Liguria region and had enough force to break windows of homes and damage orchards and gardens. While northern Italy has suffered the worst drought in decades, heavy rains, hailstorms, whirlwinds, and flooding have damaged or destroyed entire crops of fruits and vegetables, according to the Italian agricultural lobby Coldiretti.
Thunderstorms on Wednesday, August 17th, would flood Paris subway stations and the Old Port of Marseille, and winds over 60 mph were recorded at the top of the Eiffel Tower during a flash flood Tuesday.
Hungarian meteorological data this year shows this has been the most severe lack of rainfall here since 1901.