France – Thousands Evacuated After River Levels Hit 100 Year High

Continued heavy rain in France from 29 May has left the two departments of Seine-et-Marne and Loiret suffering major flooding and a further 8 departments in France experiencing serious flood damage.

French authorities say that in areas south of Paris, river levels are at their highest for over 100 years.

The country’s Ministry of Interior say that a woman died in the flooding in Seine-et-Marne department on 01 June 2016. Earlier a young child died in a flooded basement of a house in the village of Saint-Martin-d’Ordon, Yonne Department, after heavy rain on Sunday 29 May 2016.

France Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said emergency workers had carried out more than 12,000 interventions and rescue operations over the last few days.

One of the worst hit areas was the town of Nemours, Seine-et-Marne department, situated south east of the capital, where 3,000 people have evacuated their homes after the Loing River broke its banks. Levels of the river broke previous records that had stood for over 100 years, set during the historic floods around Paris in 1910.

Ten kilometres south of Nemours, an 86-year-old woman was found drowned in her home in Souppes sur Loing, according to the French Ministry of Interior.

Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, visited the flood victims and flood hits areas around Nemours earlier today.

French Prime Minister visits the flood hit town of Nemours, 02 June 2016. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister, France
French Prime Minister visits the flood hit town of Nemours, 02 June 2016. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister, France

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve visited Rambouillet in the Yvelines department yesterday.

Floods in Rambouillet, France, 01 June 2016. Photo; Ministère Intérieur
Floods in Rambouillet, France, 01 June 2016. Photo; Ministère Intérieur

A prison in Saran, Loiret department, central France had to be evacuated, with hundreds of prisoners moved to other facilities.

In Paris, the River Seine burst its banks and is still rising, resulting in the closure of key central roads in Paris and parts of the rivers embankment. Levels of the Seine in Paris are expected to increase further, but it is unlikely they will reach the heights seen in 1910.

In March this year, Parisian officials tested the city’s preparedness and response to flooding from the River Seine during an 11 day exercise called “Operation Sequana”.

The floods come at a time when the country is preparing to host the UEFA EURO 2016 football tournament amidst heightened security concerns.

Flood Warnings

On 31 May, Météo-France issued a red alert for flooding in Loiret. By early on Wednesday 01 June, the situation had worsened and Météo-France issued red alerts for floods in Loiret and Seine-et-Marne, and orange level alerts in 7 other departments in central and north eastern France.

As of 02 June, a red alert remains in place for Seine-et-Marne and Loiret. As of early 02 June, an orange alert was in place for 8 departments in central and north eastern France: Essonne, Loir-et-Cher, Indre-et-Loire, Indre, Cher, Meuse, Moselle, Meurthe-et-Moselle.

Image: Meteo France
Image: Meteo France

Rainfall

Across France, much of the heavy rain fell between 30 and 31 May. During a 24 hour period, 66 mm fell in Trappes, 65.2 mm in Villacoublay and 63.4 mm in Orleans.

The rain has continued since, with many areas seeing between 30 and 40 mm in 24 hours between 31 May and 01 June, increasing river levels particularly in central regions.

Météo-France say that, since Saturday 28 May, 155 mm of rain has fallen in Melleroy, Loiret Department, which is the equivalent of 2 to 3 months of rain.

River Levels

Vigicrues, the flood and river level monitoring service in France, report that the Loing River, south of Paris, has reached record levels.

The level of the Loing at Nemours stood at 4.63 metres around 22:00 on 01 June, exceeding the previous record high of 4.25 metres set in 1910. As of early 02 June, levels had fallen slightly but still remained high at 4.54 metres. At Episy, the Loing stands at 3.99 metres, beating the record of 3.68 metres set in 1982.

Vigicrues say that red alerts for flooding on the Loing are in place for Episy, Nemours, Châlette-sur-Loing and Ferrières.

South of Paris, stretches of the Seine River remain high and areas here, including Melun, Corbeil-Essonnes and St-Mammès, are on orange alert.

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Flood summary

Last updated: July 4, 2016
Event
France Floods - May to June 2016
Date
May 28 to June 4, 2016
Type
Inland flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
Heavy rain from 29 May caused rivers to overflow and major flooding in Seine-et-Marne and Loiret departments and 8 other departments serious flood damage.

Locations

A - Saint-Martin-d’Ordon, Yonne Department
B - Nemours, Seine-et-Marne
C - Souppes sur Loing, Seine-et-Marne

Magnitude

River level
3.99 metres
Loing River at Episy - June 1 to June 1, 2016
River level
4.63 metres
Loing River at Nemours - June 1 to June 1, 2016

Damages

Evacuated
20,000
Fatalities
4 people
Total damage assessment
1.4 billion
As estimated by Association Française de l’assurance (AFA)

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