DISCUSSION: Powerful thunderstorms erupted over France yesterday which brought ping-pong sized hailstones, heavy rainfall, and damaging winds. It was an active severe weather day over Southern France, Northern Italy, and Austria yesterday. At one point 400 lightning strikes were recorded in just one minute! Eerie looking shelf clouds moved through several towns as residents captured the storms rolling through. Several reports of hail came in from Switzerland where the scenery looked more like winter than summer. No reports of damage or injury have been reported as crews tried to clean up the mess left behind by the storms. Dangerous lightning strikes were captured on video in Austria as heavy downpours snarled rush hour traffic. An impressive shelf cloud moved across the northern coast of Italy as residents began to run for cover. A weak area of low pressure was responsible for the severe weather observed over Central Europe yesterday. All these events can be tied to the same weather event that caused a train to crash into an uprooted tree yesterday evening.
A commuter train traveling to the east of the French city Montpellier, in far Southern France, collided with an uprooted tree, and injured several dozen people. Eight of the people were listed in critical condition last night by emergency officials, who said that all patients should survive. Many people were treated for minor injuries and shock on the scene of the incident. Initial reports claimed that the train had derailed, but later reports confirmed that the train never derailed, however the front of the train sustained extensive damage. One witness claims that she and her fellow passengers believed that the initial impact has something to do with terrorism, but that was quickly ruled out and the incident is currently being blamed on the weather. Officials believe that the hail and heavy winds led to the uprooted tree and caused the accident. Local meteorologists confirmed that an intense thunderstorm was located over the region at the time of the incident. Two trains traveling along the same route were cancelled to allow emergency officials access to the scene. Crews eventually reopened the route shortly after the evening rush. Pictures posted to social media show what the area looked like shortly after the accident (shown below).
The storm system responsible for the severe weather yesterday, slowly trekked to the east on Thursday as it began to weaken. High pressure will move over the area in the upcoming days, as a powerful coastal storm moves across the British Isles. To learn more about other high-impact weather events from across Europe, be sure to click here!