Europe floods: Storms and heavy rain batter continent

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Lightning over Frankfurt, 7 JuneImage source, AP
Image caption,
Lightning strikes have caused damage in several countries

Heavy weather is continuing to batter parts of Europe as floodwaters recede in France and Germany.

In Belgium, a torrent of muddy water washed through streets and damaged cars in the town of Genappe, south of Brussels.

Lightning strikes caused damage in several countries and a tornado was seen over the German city of Hamburg.

At least 18 people died in Europe last week as heavy rain caused flooding across the continent.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
A tornado was seen over Hamburg

In France, there were 70,000 reports of thunder, including 20,000 over the Pas-de-Calais region in the north of the country, France 3 reported (in French).

Lightning struck homes and trees, causing electricity blackouts and damaging vehicles.

More than 11,000 French homes were still without electricity, reports said.

In Paris, floodwaters caused by the Seine breaking its banks began to recede.

Image source,
Image caption,
Lightning strikes were concentrated over France, Germany and Italy on Wednesday

However, the Louvre museum as well as several Paris train stations and roads remained closed, riverside restaurants remained underwater and boats were still unable to pass under bridges.

In Germany, severe storms over Hamburg ripped off roofs, left cellars flooded and uprooted at least 50 big trees.

More than 1,000 emergency personnel responded to more than 250 incidents, local media reported (in German).

Heavy storms were also reported in western and south-western Germany.

Analysis - BBC Weather Forecaster Charles Powell

While the position of the jet stream has provided a blocked weather pattern for the UK, it has meant that an area of low pressure has been held to the north-west of Portugal. This has helped feed a supply of warm, humid, moisture laden air across continental Europe.

During the last week or so daytime temperatures have risen high enough to release all this energy in the form of thunderstorms, some of them prolonged, intense with hail and lightning.

There are no real signs for a change and it is likely that we will continue to see further thunderstorms and flooding over the next week.

In the UK, the weather authorities warned of localised flooding and lightning strikes.

Torrential rainfall in the Birmingham region left people trapped in their cars and local authorities told people not to travel.

On Tuesday, some vehicles were trapped in flooding in a London suburb.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Torrential rain battered central London
Image source, PA
Image caption,
Cars were submerged in a London suburb

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