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Violent thunderstorms and torrential rains have caused chaos across southern Europe.

In Italy, much of the Sicilian city of Catania was turned into a raging river with strong waters carrying away vehicles. Some 50 litres per square metre of rain fell in just half an hour.

Hundreds of firefighters were scrambled but only one person was injured.

The situation was worse in Greece where one woman died and dozens of commuters were trapped in their cars after a torrential downpour swamped the capital Athens.

Police said a 27-year-old woman died of a suspected heart attack after being trapped in her car in the northern suburb of Halandri

Power outages darkened large parts of the city during the overnight cloudburst, a river broke its banks and traffic jams brought much of Athens to a standstill in the morning rush hour.

The capital’s main roads and highways were overflowing with water and public transport was severely disrupted as two subway stops were briefly shut.

“This is the worst storm since 1961. We’re talking about 52 years without ever having seen such a heavy downpour in this area,” meteorologist Yannis Kallianos told state television.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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