The deadly storm that Corsica never saw coming

Prince Albert has sent his condolences after hurricane-strength winds and rain ripped across Corsica killing five people, including a 13-year-old girl. 

As the south of France experienced more rain in just a few hours than in recent months combined, hail, heavy rain and winds reaching upto 225 km per hour hammered the island of Corsica Thursday morning, smashing boats and cars, uprooting trees and damaging houses.

“It’s such a paradox,” Gilles Simeoni, President of the Executive Council of Corsica, told franceinfo. “For weeks we had been living in fear of fires … and this rain which was supposed to be beneficial turned into a deadly windstorm.”

The storm claimed five victims: a 46-year-old man whose bungalow was crushed by a tree in a campsite in Sagone, a 13-year-old girl who was also killed by a falling tree in Corse-du-Sud, a woman aged 72, also in Corse-du-Sud, who was killed when a straw hut’s roof landed on her car, a 62-year-old fisherman whose cause of death has not been revealed, and a female British tourist, who clung to the side of a stricken kayak with her husband for two hours before dying.

A natural catastrophe decree is expected to be approved next week, which will help residents and businesses with insurance claims for damage caused by the storm.

“I was woken around 7:30am by a very huge storm that knocked out both electricity and mobile phone networks,” said Benjamin Roux, a 26-year-old tourist. He had planned to go scuba diving but found himself saving the passengers of a boat who were sleeping aboard when it was suddenly thrown onto the shore by waves.

“They managed to get out without injuries, but they’re just devastated,” he told AFP.

Monaco’s Head of State, Prince Albert, has sent his condolences to the people of Corsica. In a letter addressed to Gilles Simeoni, he says, “With my family and the population of the Principality of Monaco, I would like to express our deep sympathy for you with regard to the dramatic consequences of the violent storms which fell in Corsica.

“In this painful circumstance, I express my deepest condolences to you and express to the families of the victims, to the injured and to all those affected by this tragedy, my feelings of deep sympathy.”

Two people in Italy also died in Thursday’s storms.

The storm warning in Corsica was only upgraded to orange – the second highest alert level – just moments before the violent storm battered the island, making any emergency evacuation impossible.

During a press conference Thursday, Météo France called it an “exceptional” and unforeseen phenomenon, with extreme winds that had formed in a matter of minutes.

“We were a little surprised by the strength ​​of the gusts, which were quite exceptional and had never been observed before,” admitted Christophe Morel, head of the forecasting office. The situation was “difficult to predict” because “we cannot observe the gusts as long as the storms are on the sea,” added forecaster François Gourand.

Monaco and mainland France bore less of the brunt of the storm than originally expected, although intense rains, which produced flash flooding and fierce hail, did hit much of southern France following weeks of punishing drought.

Photo above: credit Jules Jagger on Facebook




Lens hammer sorry Monaco

AS Monaco’s lengthy unbeaten run in Ligue 1 came to an end in emphatic style on Saturday, as RC Lens eased to a comfortable 4-1 victory at the Stade Louis II.

Lens had too much for Monaco from start to finish. Franck Haise set his side up with three midfielders to counter Monaco’s two, and that numerical advantage in the centre of the pack paid dividends.

Seko Fofana and David Costa had particularly impressive showings and they prevented Monaco from gaining a foothold in the match by essentially easing Eliot Matazo and Jean Lucas out of the game altogether.

Lens raced into an early lead thanks to a Loïs Openda tap in at the back post. Despite the scoreline, Monaco did, however, have chances, but they lacked the efficiency of their opponents in front of goal. Takumi Minamino, who is yet to get off the mark in Monaco colours, had a shot well saved by Brice Samba, whilst Jean Lucas should have done better with the rebound, but could only slice wide.

Monaco would pay for that miss. A long Fofana ball wasn’t sufficiently dealt with by Vanderson, who was robbed off possession by Deiver Machado. The latter then surged into the box and finished low past Alexander Nübel.

That goal stirred something in Monaco, and momentarily at least, there was a reaction. Benoît Badiashile headed in a Caio Henrique corner on his return from injury. Just seconds later, Monaco could have restored parity as Krépin Diatta and Wissam Ben Yedder broke at pace, but the latter’s shot within the box was easily blocked.

Despite the arrival of new signing Mohamed Camara at half-time, Monaco still lacked the ability to control the midfield battle, and for that they paid a heavy price. Lens were awarded a cheap penalty when Breel Embolo was adjudged to have fouled Florian Sotoca in the box, despite very limited contact.

Fofana then blasted home to give Monaco a mountain to climb. The summit of that mountain then became even more distant when Vanderson was shown a second yellow, and a subsequent red card.

From there on in, it was an exercise of damage limitation. When Wesley Saïd cut inside Diatta to make it 4-1, there was an impression that things could have turned ugly. However, the score remained at four.

The comprehensive defeat is Monaco’s first since mid-March, whilst Lens’ long unbeaten run, which stretches back to the beginning of April, continues,

Post-match, Philippe Clement told Monaco Life, “The team didn’t stop, but we didn’t play with the same conviction as we have had in the past months. We were less stable, less collective, less compact and we must once again create this base for the next match.”

Things don’t get any easier for Monaco. Bouncing back against PSG at the Parc des Princes will be a very tall order, and although they have a slight respite against Troyes the following Wednesday, they then face local rivals OGC Nice and Lyon.



Photo above by Monaco Life