Rainstorms bring relief as Europe suffers summer heat wave

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Thunderstorms brought a much-needed cooldown to parts of Western Europe over the weekend as the continent sweltered under its first summer heat wave. Dozens of people were reported drowned as they sought relief from the heat.

Forecasters predicted further downpours Monday moving east toward Poland, which has seen five days of unusually hot weather.

Germany’s national weather service DWD said temperatures in the west and north of the country dropped from over 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) over the weekend to about 20 C (68 F) after a night of heavy rain.

After days of soaring temperatures, France was lashed by violent thunderstorms that sent a belltower crashing into the nave of a village church in central France. The storm also tore through vineyards and flooded homes and public buildings.

Winds reached 137 kilometers per hour (85 mph) in Champagne country, felling trees and ripping off roofs. Huge hail stones damaged cars and homes in the east, and the French national weather service registered 44,000 lightning flashes on Saturday alone.

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