Intense deluge forces evacuations in France (VIDEOS) — Analysis
Several areas in southwest France have been flooded after receiving two to three weeks’ worth of rain overnight. Heavy precipitation led to rivers swelling and some areas experiencing landslides, forcing many residents to flee.
Meteo France (the French meteorological agency) has issued red alerts in Pyrenees Atlantictiques and Landes, warning of a downpour. “remarkable for its duration and the quantities expected [to fall].”Orange alert is in effect for around 11 additional departments.
Residents are reminded by the Pyrenees Atlantiques prefecture to be aware “the greatest vigilance”And “avoid travel”Following rising water levels, sections of the highways were submerged near Bayonne. After a landslide, a rail link connecting Bayonne with other regions of the area was also closed.
“Water is starting to invade the highway,” the region’s prefect Eric Spitz told BFMTV, adding that around 50 people had to be evacuated from the Petit Bayonne district at the confluence of the Adour and Nive rivers. The Nive was closed to access after it reportedly burst its banks and reached record levels.
“Damaging overflows” were also reported on a number of other rivers, including the Nivelle, the Saison, the Gaves d’Oloron and Pau, the Adour, and the Arros. According to the prefecture, there were a total of around 230 emergency calls.
Many videos showing overflowing rivers or flooding streets were shared via social media. Water appears to have flooded the roads and cars that were parked along them. Images of flood water moving fast past homes were also shown.
Spitz said that the weather forecasts for tomorrow are predicting more rain and there will be no relief. In a statement, the prefecture announced the opening of a crisis center and closing some schools and colleges. Also evacuated were a nursery and retirement home located near the Nive River.
Residents of the village close to the Spanish border were forced from their homes earlier in the day by landslides. The area was evacuated by around 20 people.