Violent thunderstorms and torrential rains in Germany, France, and Switzerland prompted the deployment of hundreds of firefighters on Monday evening.
The southern and western German states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, and Hesse were especially hard-hit by the deluge-like rains and reported dozens of road accidents by early Tuesday morning. The number of people injured in the crashes was not immediately known.
Seven accidents were reported during heavy rainfalls on the A3 and A48 highways near the town of Montabaur with one person severely and three people slightly injured.
Rescue teams in Stuttgart were called in more than 330 times Monday and early Tuesday and train service was interrupted for hours. Felled trees had to be cut and removed by firefighters
Part of the roof and several statues on the city’s opera house were also blown to the ground by the winds.
In Bavaria, some villages were flooded, including Moemlingen, near Frankfurt, where streets were completely covered by water and mud and many basements had to be pumped dry by firefighters, German news agency dpa reported on Tuesday.
The French northern départements of Pas-de-Calais and Somme were also hard hit.
Firefighters in Pas-de-Calais counted 208 interventions linked to bad weather, mostly for flooding in homes, and one on the public highway.
In neighbouring Somme, "a powerful storm" broke out above the town of Abbeville, "for half an hour to an hour", and the water rose very quickly, a spokesman for the fire department explained to AFP.
A hundred firefighters were called upon. They intervened "61 times including 43 in Abbeville" between 18:00 and 22:00, mostly "for flooding of basements, houses, sometimes even stores", he said.
In Switzerland, the thunderstorms were accompanied by strong winds and hail the size of golf balls in some places. Five people were injured, including a cyclist who was hit in the head by hailstones.
In the canton of Fribourg, police and firefighters responded to around 300 incidents. The rescue services also responded to a class of 16 children and two accompanying adults who were caught in the hail in Bulle.