Storm Leslie hits Southern Europe hard - 13 dead in France from torrential rains - hundreds of thousands without power in Portugal
Torrential rains have killed at least 13 people in south-western France according to national emergency services spokesman Michael Bernier.
One person remains missing.
Television pictures showed raging, muddy rivers, uprooted trees, knocked over power pylons and cars i swept away n the southern region of Aude.
Thousands were being evacuated from the area. Officials claim up to seven months' worth of rain had fell overnight.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was heading to the disaster zone today. 350 firefighters were helping in the rescue effort and up to 350 more are expected to arrive.
The most heavily effected areas were the villages of Conques-Sur-Orbiel and Villardonnel. In some areas water levels were as high as the first-floor windows.
The Vigicrues agency, which tracks water levels in France, said the flooding was approaching the record levels of 1891.
Torrential rain is common in France at this time of year, but meteorologists have said exceptionally warm sea water along the Mediterranean coast may be intensifying rainfall.
On the weekend, Hurricane Leslie struck Portugal and left hundreds of thousands of households without power, wrote the Portuguese newspaper Público. However, the weather has deviated from its expected route and therefore did not strike the capital of Lisbon directly.
Instead, the storm penetrated the mainland further north, and struck other cities, Leiria and Coimbra, with massive power outages, hundreds of uprooted trees and several roads closed.
Leslie was previously thought to be a one on the five-grade Hurricane scale, but has now fallen in strength to the level of a tropical storm. It is expected to decline even more when it enters Spain. However, warnings for strong winds and heavy rain have nevertheless been issued for 39 of Spain's 50 provinces, as well as for the enclaves Ceuta and Melilla, writes Spanish El País.
Cover Photo: NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and captured a visible image of Hurricane Leslie. Credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)/NOAA