Hailstones the size of ping pong balls smash windscreens, tear through buildings and destroy crops in France

Samuel Osborne

Hailstones the size of ping pong balls have smashed car windscreens and ruined crops in eastern France.

The storm lashed the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps region, which bore the brunt of the damage on Sunday.

A 51-year-old German woman was killed after high winds brought down a tree on her camp site while a tourist drowned around 50km to the north in Switzerland’s Lake Geneva.

Footage captured hailstones smashing car windows and roads quickly flooding, while photos showed the damage caused to crops, farms and homes.

France’s agriculture minister, Didier Guillaume, said the state would declare a natural emergency to deal with the aftermath.

At least 12 people were injured and over 2,000 houses were left without electricity until Sunday evening, local media reported.

“It was apocalyptic,” Marie-Helene Thoravaldes, the mayor of Romans-sur-Isere, told France Info.

Heavy thunderstorms have been forecast to hit parts of the UK this week.

Some parts of the country are likely to see a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours, the Met Office has warned.