Paradise lost: More than 10 per cent of the annual average rainfall in the Alpes-Maritimes department (Biot pictured) fell in just two days
Violent storms and flash floods in the south of France have killed 13 people and left hundreds of holidaymakers stranded.

Heavy rain in the Cote d'Azur - forecast to have sunny skies and temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius today - caused the River Brague to burst its banks near Antibes, which lies between Cannes and Nice in the French Riviera.

Three people drowned in an Antibes retirement home, a 60-year-old woman died on a submerged road in the popular resort town of Cannes and at least five were killed as they sought shelter under cars in Nice.

There are fears the death toll could be even hire because fire crews and ambulances have struggled to reach the worst-affected areas, where 35,000 homes are without power.

Disturbing images of the aftermath showed entire roads worn away and hundreds of badly-damaged cars piled on top of each other.


Damage: Eyewitness footage and images from Cannes (pictured) showed water flowing down the streets and cars crashed into each other
A meteorologist told MailOnline the extreme weather was caused by an 'explosive' mixture of low pressures and high temperatures - and could strike again.

The overflowing river in Antibes sent huge waves crashing to houses, cars and the home for the elderly.

A spokesperson for the local fire brigade said: 'Camp sites are under water and two helicopters are circling to ensure the public's security, as some people are stuck on the roof of their caravans.'


Utter destruction: Hundreds of cars were sent crashing into one another by the waves of water that roared down the once-pristine roads of the Cote D'Azur
Cannes Mayor Davis Lisnard said cars were 'carried off into the sea', trees were uprooted and the water levels reached halfway up car doors.

He announced emergency plans to bring in more police and said they 'must now be vigilant against looting'.

The storm affected plane and train services - leaving hundreds of British holidaymakers stranded at Nice airport.

French rail company SNCF said a dozen trains - with hundreds on board - were halted around Antibes.


Aftermath: Severe storms in Cannes (pictured) sent cars floating down the road and crashing into other vehicles
As many as 500 tourists, including several British and Danish nationals, sought shelter overnight at Nice airport. Meanwhile, a football match between Nice and Nantes was interrupted by downpours.

Others stranded including hundreds who had attended a concert by French rock star Johnny Hallyday.

The mayor's office in Nice estimated the city received 10 per cent of its average annual rainfall in the space of just two days.

French forecasters said the worst storms had passed but Jim Dale, senior risk meteorologist at British Weather Services, said the French Riviera could be hit by more severe weather.

He told MailOnline: 'This is the time of tear when such occurrences tend to occur, with the breakdown of high summer and intense low pressure areas, fronts and troughs.

'There is still plenty of heat in the atmosphere and surrounding seas, so energy levels are high. This explosive mixture does sometimes make for these kind of events.

He said the weather should not be 'repeated or transported' to other areas but with similar weather systems coming in from the Atlantic, similar flash flooding 'may occur from time to time'.


Horrified: A cyclist looks at damaged cars in a car park after violent storms and floods in Mandelieu-la-Napoule, south-east France
An emergence services source told MailOnline how the 'devastating' weather had left many people at risk - particularly at campsites where people climbed on top of caravans and buildings to get out of the water.

Emergency plans were implemented in many parts of the Alpes-Maritime department, where the A8 motorway and Cannes railway station were closed.

President Francois Hollande announced that dead bodies had been found in Cannes, Biot, Golfe-Juan and Mandelieu-la-Napoule, near the border with Italy.

Mr Hollande called for 'national solidarity' in the face of the crisis and thanked rescuers for their efforts while Prime Minister Manuel Valls spoke of his 'deep emotion' upon hearing of the deaths.


Pancaked: Disturbing images of the aftermath show cars piled on top of each other in Biot, south-east France

Looking for safety: At least five people died seeking shelter underneath their cars in Nice (pictured)