ENVIRONMENT
05/31/2016 03:37 pm ET

15 Photos Of Devastating Floods Show What The Future Of Europe Could Look Like

Thanks to climate change, flooding across Europe is expected to double by 2050.
A damaged car is pictured Monday after floods in the town of Braunsbach, Germany.
Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
A damaged car is pictured Monday after floods in the town of Braunsbach, Germany.

Heavy rains flooded huge parts of northern Europe over the weekend as "freak thunderstorms" ravaged the continent and left as many as five people dead.

In Poland, one man was struck dead by lightning. In Germany, two men were presumed dead after being sucked into a flooded underpass, and two others perished in flood-related accidents. Dozens were injured in lightning strikes at a children's birthday party in Paris and a soccer match in Germany. 

The French Open canceled games on Tuesday -- its first complete washout in 16 years, according to France24. Auto giant Audi halted production at one of its major factories in southwestern Germany. 

The storm systems were prompted by a warm plume of air that extended north from Africa into Europe, according to the U.K.'s Met Office.

The devastation caused by the flooding shows the vulnerabilities that even wealthy countries face as global warming causes the climate to change and weather to become more extreme.

"We cannot predict climate on a local scale 10 years ahead or even further, but we can put a lot more effort on extracting the information on what could be happening in that far-away abstract future by looking at the extremes that happen today," Bart van den Hurk, a doctor at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, said in a report published last week by the European Commission.  

A study released in March 2014 found that the frequency of severe flooding across Europe is expected to double by 2050. The annual economic costs from that flood will go up nearly fivefold, the study found. 

There are no clear estimates yet of the cost of the damage caused by this round of flooding. But these photos show some of the devastation so far: 

  • A policewoman stands near a car smashed against a building on May 31, 2016, in the village center of Braunsbach, Germany, fol
    Sean Gallup/Getty Images
    A policewoman stands near a car smashed against a building on May 31, 2016, in the village center of Braunsbach, Germany, following a ferocious flash flood the night before. The flood tore through Braunsbach, crushing cars, ripping corners off houses and flooding homes during a storm that hit southwestern Germany. Miraculously no one in Braunsbach was killed, though three people died as a result of the storm in other parts of the country.
  • A man looks at a flooded car on a street on May 30, 2016, in Oberhausen after a heavy storm. At least four people died and se
    Marcel Kusch/AFP/Getty Images
    A man looks at a flooded car on a street on May 30, 2016, in Oberhausen after a heavy storm. At least four people died and several more were injured in the south of Germany after torrential storms caused severe flooding, with a third person also feared dead, authorities said on Monday.
  • A man stands among boulders, smashed trees and cars and other debris that cover a street May 31, 2016, in the village ce
    Sean Gallup/Getty Images
    A man stands among boulders, smashed trees and cars and other debris that cover a street May 31, 2016, in the village center of Braunsbach following a furious flash flood the night before.
  • A car is blocked in the middle of a flooded road on May 31, 2016, in Meung-sur-Loire southern Orleans, following heavy r
    Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images
    A car is blocked in the middle of a flooded road on May 31, 2016, in Meung-sur-Loire southern Orleans, following heavy rainfalls, as the Loiret department is under flood alert and France's weather agency Meteo France maintained 18 departments under orange alert.
  • This photo shows a barge and a boat on the river Seine on Quai de la Tournelle after its banks became flooded following heavy
    Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images
    This photo shows a barge and a boat on the river Seine on Quai de la Tournelle after its banks became flooded following heavy rainfalls May 31, 2016, in Paris.
  • Rescuing firefighters patrol aboard a dinghy through the flooded town of Bruay-la-Buissiere, near Lens, northern France, on M
    Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images
    Rescuing firefighters patrol aboard a dinghy through the flooded town of Bruay-la-Buissiere, near Lens, northern France, on May 31, 2016, following heavy rainfalls.
  • Dark clouds hang over a grain field near Petersdorf, northeastern Germany, on May 30, 2016.
    Patrick Pleul/AFP/Getty Images
    Dark clouds hang over a grain field near Petersdorf, northeastern Germany, on May 30, 2016.
  • People stuck in traffic walk along the A10 highway on May 31, 2016, in Saran, after it flooded due to heavy rainfall. The Loi
    Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images
    People stuck in traffic walk along the A10 highway on May 31, 2016, in Saran, after it flooded due to heavy rainfall. The Loiret department is under red flood alert and France's weather agency Meteo France maintains 18 departments are under orange alert.
  • Cars are seen on May 31, 2016, amid rubble piled up by the floods after a thunderstorm in Braunsbach, southern Germany. Clean
    Christoph Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
    Cars are seen on May 31, 2016, amid rubble piled up by the floods after a thunderstorm in Braunsbach, southern Germany. Cleanup efforts started after violent storms with torrential rains caused severe flooding, killing four people the day before.
  • A woman stands next to her flooded house on May 31, 2016, in Meung-sur-Loire southern Orleans, following heaving rainfalls.
    Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images
    A woman stands next to her flooded house on May 31, 2016, in Meung-sur-Loire southern Orleans, following heaving rainfalls.
  • A fireman crosses a flooded road with a person on his back following heavy rainfalls on May 31, 2016, in Meung-sur-Loire sout
    Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images
    A fireman crosses a flooded road with a person on his back following heavy rainfalls on May 31, 2016, in Meung-sur-Loire southern Orleans, as the Loiret department is under flood alert.
  • People clear mud from a flooded store in the village center following a furious flash flood the night before on May 30, 2016,
    Sean Gallup/Getty Images
    People clear mud from a flooded store in the village center following a furious flash flood the night before on May 30, 2016, in Braunsbach, Germany.
  • Cars stand amid rubbish in a flooded street in Braunsbach, southern Germany, on May 30, 2016. Four people died and several mo
    Marijan Murat/AFP/Getty Images
    Cars stand amid rubbish in a flooded street in Braunsbach, southern Germany, on May 30, 2016. Four people died and several more were injured in southern Germany after violent storms with torrential rains caused severe flooding, authorities said.
  • A picture taken on May 31, 2016, in southern Orleans shows a flooded road following heavy rainfalls that disrupted traff
    Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images
    A picture taken on May 31, 2016, in southern Orleans shows a flooded road following heavy rainfalls that disrupted traffic on the A10 highway between Paris and Orleans.
  • Cars are seen in a flooded street in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Baden-Württemberg, southern Germany, after heavy rains
    Jonas Heilgeist/AFP/Getty Images
    Cars are seen in a flooded street in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Baden-Württemberg, southern Germany, after heavy rains hit the country on May 29, 2016. Three people died and several were injured after heavy rains in the country, officials said on May 30, 2016.
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