Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Homes evacuated and roads cut off as storms hit southern France - 4 inches of rain in just 5 hours

The Auberge de Fourcès is one of the businesses to be severely affected by flooding
The Auberge de Fourcès is one of the businesses to be severely affected by flooding.
Homes and businesses had to be evacuated and roads remain closed in parts of southern France after heavy storms brought severe flooding and mudslides overnight June 8-9.

There were more than 100 fire brigade interventions, particularly in the towns of Eauze, Montréal, and Fourcès in Gers (Occitanie).

Homes and businesses were affected, including those in the central square of Fourcès, where the restaurant Auberge De Fourcès was completely flooded.

Forecaster Météo France said that more than 100 mm of rain fell in the north-west of the department between 21:00 and 02:00, causing severe damage in places, and leading to the rehoming of 33 people, of which nine people needed to be rescued.

The Gélise river, which runs through the area, reached a height of 3.35 m. This is higher than its last major flood, when the water level hit three metres in 1981.

Mayor of Eauze, Michel Gabas, said: "The commune hasn't experienced this kind of event since the Klaus storm in 2009." He said he would be asking the government for the official recognition of a natural disaster (catastrophe naturelle). This unlocks specific insurance policy clauses.

"The local population is resilient, and we are all helping to clean up around houses and small paths," he added. "Everyone is pulling together. We hope to get through this episode quickly and efficiently, so that normal life can resume."

Roads cut off

Roads have been affected, with six departmental roads cut off, and 10 severely damaged by mudslides and other debris.

Department chairman Philippe Dupouy has warned people to "exercise the utmost caution", and said that "the repairs will obviously take a number of days, if not weeks". He said: "It is absolutely essential that road users in this heavily impacted sector take great care."

Between Montreal-du-Gers and Fourcès: RD 29 closed due to landslides, mudslides and flooding

- RD 15: Mudslides cutting off some traffic

- Éauze: RD 43 disrupted by mudslides and largely closed

- Castelnau-d'Auzan, Labarrère and Bretagne d'Armagnac: RD 264 closed due to mudslides

- Fourcès: Overflowing river water causing disruption
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