Downpours are sweeping through the French department of the Rhone Delta and its capital, Marseilles. In this region, Météo France issued the highest red alert and warnings against rain and floods. Orange alerts are in place in five other departments in the South East of the country. The violent phenomena are expected to last at least until the end of the day. The media reported one fatal victim.
Monday’s first heavy rains and storms hit the southeast of France in the early morning, then died down. The bad weather returned around noon and is expected to last until at least evening. The weather services issued a red alert in the Rhone Delta and an orange alert in five other departments.
Marseille: 200 liters of water per square meter
One fatality is reported in the media. This is a person who died in a road accident caused by bad weather – a collision between a truck and a passenger car.
According to meteorologists, 200 liters of water per square meter fell in the eastern part of Marseille on Monday morning, which is three times the monthly average for October in this area. The sea guards had to intervene several times. The most dramatic action was carried out by the rescuers in the Valmante district, where a car found itself under water. Fortunately, the drivers were fine.
France. Schools closed in several departments and train traffic stopped
The state railways SNCF at noon announced the suspension of train traffic in the Marseille area on routes connecting the city with Aix en Provence, Les Arcs, Martigues on the Cote d’Azur and Avignon. So far, the TGV high-speed train from Marseille to Paris runs smoothly.
The authorities appealed to the residents to stay at home until evening as much as possible. All schools in the Rhône Delta department closed on Monday. “Taking into account the development of the weather situation and the difficulties that may persist in the afternoon, please inform families that schools will not accept students today and arrange for the return to their homes of those students who are already present” – wrote the local school authorities in an email sent to outlets. Similar decisions were made in the departments of the Var and Alpes-Maritimes.
As French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reported on Monday afternoon, “fire brigades and civil defense are mobilized.” The minister urged residents to stay clear of watercourses, to avoid being on the coast, and to be cautious in the vicinity of power grids.
A strike by the city cleaning services. Waste “magnifies the negative effects of floods”
Another problem was added to the difficult weather situation in Marseille, in the form of waste accumulated during the several days’ strike by the city cleaning services. Mayor Benoît Payan called for emergency measures to remove garbage from the city’s streets. He argued that untreated waste “obstructs the outflow of water, magnifies the negative effects of floods, and hampers the intervention of emergency services.”
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