New “widespread thunderstorms” hit Corsica overnight from Thursday to Friday, the day after a particularly violent stormy episode that killed five people.
These “widespread thunderstorms” concern “the western half of Corsica and Cap Corse” but also “the eastern coast”, announced Météo-France in a bulletin broadcast overnight, specifying that “thunderstorms continue to form at sea and will affect a large part of the western facade of Corsica” during the night. “Under the strongest storm cells, we can observe 40 to 60 mm in less than an hour, hail, strong gusts of wind close to 80 to 100 km / h”, according to Météo-France which also warns against “waterspouts and whirlwind phenomena” on the coast.
The Mediterranean island, where the tourist season is in full swing, went back to orange vigilance Thursday at 9:00 p.m., for a “more lasting” rainy-stormy episode than the day before.
Storms that killed five
Thursday morning, very brutal thunderstorms killed five people across the Isle of Beauty, including two at sea, a 62-year-old fisherman and a kayaker in her sixties. This report was confirmed Thursday evening to AFP by the Ministry of the Interior, the maritime prefecture and the two Corsican prefectures, after a sixth death was announced by mistake by the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin since the Corsica, based on misleading information from firefighters.
Thursday evening, several campsites in Corse-du-Sud were evacuated in anticipation of new storms, during which “high rainfall intensities” are expected, according to Météo-France. But the gusts of wind “will be much less violent than those observed Thursday morning”, measured at more than 200 km / h.
In Haute-Corse, 5,400 people “housed in the most exposed campsites (Calvi, Calenzana, Aregno, Algajola, Corbara and Monticello) have been brought to safety”, detailed the prefecture in a press release.
“Rehousing operations are underway” for the evacuees, Gilles Simeoni, President of the Executive Council of Corsica, had indicated earlier, alongside Mr. Darmanin in the Sagone campsite (Corse-du-Sud) where a teenager 13-year-old lost his life after a tree fell on his bungalow.
The other victims are a 46-year-old man, also victim of a falling tree on a campsite in Calvi (Haute-Corse), and a septuagenarian, killed a few kilometers from the Sagone campsite by the fall of the roof of a straw hut on his vehicle.
State of disaster declared on Wednesday
During his visit to Sagone, Mr. Darmanin announced that a state of natural disaster could be declared as early as Wednesday. In Ajaccio, the minister then took part by videoconference in the first meeting of the interministerial crisis unit, chaired by Emmanuel Macron from Fort Brégançon (Var).
“Tonight, stay careful,” tweeted the Head of State on Thursday evening, once again expressing his “support and that of the Nation for the Corsicans who have been hard hit”.
Météo-France surprised by an “exceptional” situation
Conceding to have been “surprised” by an “exceptional” situation and “difficult to predict” by its digital models, Météo-France defended itself from not having activated its orange vigilance in advance on Thursday morning.
The winds that hit the island were “extremely violent” and they were “unexpected, in any case unexpected in this intensity”, estimated for his part Gérald Darmanin, qualifying this phenomenon as “undoubtedly exceptional”.