PARIS, Aug 19 (Reuters) – France’s weather forecaster lifted a major storm warning for Corsica on Friday, a day after hurricane-strength winds and rain ripped across the Mediterranean island, killing five people.
A natural catastrophe decree is expected to be approved next week, which will help residents and businesses with insurance claims for damage caused by the storm, regional leader Gilles Simeoni told franceinfo radio.
Hail, heavy rain and winds peaking at 225 km per hour (140 mph) swept the island on Thursday morning, smashing boats and cars, uprooting trees and damaging houses.
The storm hit Corsica as parts of mainland France – which has been hit by a series of heatwaves, wildfires and severe drought over the past weeks – also saw more rain in just a few hours than in recent months combined.
“It’s such a paradox,” Simeoni told franceinfo. “For weeks we had been living in fear of fires … and this rain which was supposed to be beneficial turned into a deadly windstorm.”
Two of the victims, including a teenage girl, were killed when trees fell in campsites, two were at sea and one died when a beach hut hit her car. In Italy, two people also died in storms on Thursday.
More rain and some storms were still possible in Corsica on Friday, forecaster Meteo France said after it downgraded the weather warning level from “orange” to “yellow”.
More than 5,000 holidaymakers on the island who had been evacuated to temporary shelters should be able to go back to their campsites on Friday, Simeoni said.
Reporting by Myriam Rivet, Marc Angrand, Sudip Kar-Gupta; Writing by Ingrid Melander; editing by John Stonestreet