A 77-year-old man has drowned in his car in northern France, trapped on a flooded roadway in a severe thunderstorm, the fifth victim of days of flooding around France.

Etienne Desplanques, from the administration of the Pas de Calais region, said on BFM-TV that the man died after taking a road inundated by quickly rising floodwaters that swept his car away. The death highlighted the severity of the storm, which required hundreds of interventions by rescue workers in the region.

At least 19 people have died in flooding across Europe.

In Paris and elsewhere, the French were digging out but watchful. The saturated ground means fresh rain can quickly spell more trouble.

The Seine river's levels peaked Saturday in Paris but remain more than 3 meters (10 feet) above normal.