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Warning in Germany as Europe reels from storms

August 19, 2022

After deadly storms battered Central and Southern Europe, German authorities issued fresh weather warnings. Strong winds fueled a wildfire in Spain, and falling water levels revealed a dangerous treasure in the Danube.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin looks at a damaged bungalow at La Pinede camping site in Calvi, in the French Mediterranean island of Corsica
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin inspects the damage caused by a storm that ripped across CorsicaImage: Shootpix/abaca/picture alliance

The German Weather Service (DWD) on Friday warned of heavy rainfall in the south into Saturday after severe storms killed at least 12 people elsewhere in Europe.

Three children were among the 12 people who were killed when heavy storms struck the French island of Corsica, as well as Austria and Italy on Thursday.

"Unfortunately, it's not over yet," Luigi D'Angelo, of the Italian Civil Protection Department, warned on Friday.

More rain is expected, although not as much as in Germany, where the weather service warned of "extremely abundant, prolonged rain'' along the edge of the Alps.

According to the DWD, as much as 140 liters of water per square meter (5.5 inches) could fall over a 48-hour period, and that could cause flooding.

The Bavarian Red Cross raised the alarm level for its air rescue teams, putting helicopter crews on heightened alert.

Fallout from storms in Europe continues

In neighboring Austria, there were continued disruptions to rail travel on Friday.

Trains from Vienna to Venice had to be diverted via Salzburg, while regional connections were also halted, the Austrian Federal Railways said. 

France's weather forecaster lifted a major storm warning for Corsica on Friday, a day after hurricane-strength winds and rain ripped across the Mediterranean island.

Forecasters warned that more storms were still possible in Corsica over the weekend, but they project that they will not be as bad as Thursday's, which left five people dead.

How is Europe dealing with the drought?

High winds drive major wildfire in Spain

High winds were driving a wildfire burning out of control in Spain's eastern province of Valencia.

The blaze, one of the country's biggest this year, has already destroyed 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) along a 137-kilometer (85-mile) perimeter.

Spain has battled hundreds of wildfires this year following punishing heat waves and prolonged dry spells.

Up to early August, 43 large wildfires — those affecting at least 500 hectares — were recorded in the Mediterranean country, while the average in previous years was 11.

Danube shrinks, revealing WW2 Nazi warships

Water in the Danube River, one of Europe's most significant waterways, has dropped to one of its lowest levels in almost a century as an unprecedented droughtis afflicting nearly half of the continent.

It has exposed the hulks of dozens of Nazi warships sunk during World War II near Serbia's river port town of Prahovo.

Wreckage of a World War II German warship is seen in the Danube in Prahovo, Serbia, on  August 18
Nazi Germany scuttled its ships along the Danube in 1944 amid a retreat from advancing Soviet forcesImage: Fedja Grulovic/REUTERS

Many still contain tons of ammunition and explosives and pose a danger to shipping.

Nazi Germany's Black Sea fleet scuttled the ships along the Danube in 1944 as soldiers retreated from advancing Soviet forces.

In March, the Serbian government invited a tender to salvage the hulks and remove ammunition and explosives.

The cost of the operation was estimated at €29 million ($30 million).

lo/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)