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Unseasonal and unexpectedly large snowstorms swept across Auverge-Rhone-Alpes and nearby regions, south and west of Lyon, France over the past couple of days. The same storm system brought an early blast of winter to Spain, a destructive tornado to the island of Menorca, heavy rainfall and powerful winds to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, leaving at least 12 people dead. Another round of torrential rainfall and flooding is about to hit parts of France, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia again.
Some 900 vehicles were left stuck in a thick layer of snow in central France overnight October 30 with several hundred drivers abandoning their cars to find a warm and safe place, France24 reports.
According to energy distributor Enedis, 195 000 homes and businesses were left without power in Limousin and Centre Val de Loire regions.
Up to 40 cm (16 inches) of snow fell on some towns and villages.
Powerful winds and at least one tornado hit the Spanish island of Menorca on October 28, downing more than 50 trees and hundreds of power lines and leaving three-quarters of it without electricity and much of the island without water.
At least one person remains missing in the town of Camariñas in Galicia, northwestern Spain. Another man may have fallen into the sea while fishing, The Sun reports.
Las intensas #tormentas ⛈ se cebaron ayer con la isla de #Menorca (#Baleares) en la que se pudo divisar este #tornado. Numerosos daños materiales por la caída de árboles y torres de alta tensión dejan sin suministro eléctrico a unas 38.000 personas que pueden estar días sin luz pic.twitter.com/SryuQrEBJf
— InfoMeteoTuit (@InfoMeteoTuit) October 29, 2018
The same storm brought hurricane-force winds and widespread flooding in much of Italy, leaving at least 11 people dead.
SWE meteorolgists warned October 31 that major rainfall is expected in southern France and northwestern Italy over the next 24 – 36 hours as a new cutoff low moves eastward across the western Mediterranean and causes persistent southerly flow.
“Rainfall totals will locally reach up to 200 mm (7.87 inches), locally possibly more – by about midday tomorrow. Expect locally major flooding,” they warned.
The rain will then shift further east toward Slovenia and Croatia already flooded over the past couple of days and still recovering from the hurricane-force jugo winds and locally record-breaking rain.
Featured image: Tornado in Menorca, Spain on October 28, 2018. Credit: Rufi Keegan