Record storms sweep across France, killing one

Paris: A man was found drowned in his car in northern France on Tuesday following a fresh round of powerful rainstorms that damaged homes, destroyed vineyards and flooded roads over the last two weeks.

An unusually long bout of warm and humid weather across the country has led to a series of thunderstorms that have caused record amounts of rain in some areas. National weather service Meteo France said that it estimated the number of lightning strikes in May at 182,000 nationwide, almost double the record figure for the same month previously set in 2009.

The weather office estimated that 60 to 80 mm of rain fell late on Monday night in some areas of the Normandy region, where a 37-year-old man was found dead near the village of Piseux.

The deceased is believed to have been involved in a road accident causing his car to flip over and land in a flooded area, a statement from the local government said, reported AFP.

Other affected areas on Tuesday included Spechbach-le-Bas in eastern France where 20-40 mm of rain fell in an hour, flooding homes, motorways and local government buildings near the border with Germany and Switzerland.

Heavy rain, lightning and sometimes hail have hit wine-growing areas in the Bordeaux, Cognac and Champagne regions over recent weeks, causing major damage to crops.

(With inputs from AFP)