Paris, Europe Brief News – At least 12 people were killed as strong storms have battered areas of central and southern Europe.
Three children were among the reported victims.
The deaths, most from falling trees, were reported in Italy and Austria, and on the French island of Corsica.
Heavy rain and winds wrecked campsites on the island, while in Venice, Italy, masonry was blown off the belltower of St Mark’s Basilica.
The storms follow weeks of heatwave and drought across much of the continent.
In Corsica, winds gusting up to 224 km/h (140mph) uprooted trees and damaged mobile homes.
Authorities there said a 13-year-old girl was killed by a falling tree on a campsite.
A man died in a similar incident and a 72-year-old woman was killed when her car was hit by the detached roof of a beach hut.
Two other people, a fisherman and a female kayaker, died out at sea.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who arrived in Corsica on Thursday, said 20 people had been injured – four of them seriously.
Several campsites were evacuated on Thursday evening ahead of more expected damage.
A state of natural disaster could be declared, Mr Darmanin said. Extreme storms have become more frequent recently because of climate change.
Witnesses to the storms said they had been completely unexpected and no warning was given.
“We have never seen such huge storms as this, you would think it was a tropical storm,” restaurant owner Cedric Boell told Reuters news agency.
On the French mainland, some southern areas were hit by power cuts and streets were flooded in the country’s second city, Marseille.