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. 

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.

London and its tourists, drenched

Thunderstorms also appeared in southern England on Wednesday, drenching London tourists and residents after a summer of unusually warm and sunny weather.

The national weather service issued storm warnings for Wednesday and Thursday, advising people to stay alert for possible flooding and power outages.

People are seen sheltering from the weather at a London subway station entrance, as torrential rain and thunderstorms hit the country on Wednesday. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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

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.

Water rushes from a platform at Victor Hugo metro station in Paris, on Tuesday, as seen in an image captured on social media. (Mathilde Bouchoux Vedel/Reuters)

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