Europe – Storms Cause Flash Flooding and Landslides in UK, France and Italy

After days of high temperatures, heavy rainfall brought by summer storms has caused flooding and landslides in parts of the United Kingdom, France and Italy.

This follows dramatic flash flooding in southern Spain after almost 50mm of rainfall fell in 1 hour.

United Kingdom

In the UK, flash flooding was reported in Scotland after heavy rainfall 11 to 12 August, 2020. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it received more than 1,000 emergency calls due to the severe weather.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said in a statement of 12 August:

“Following heavy thunderstorms overnight SEPA has a number of Flood Alerts in place and Flood Warnings in Aberdeenshire, Angus and Tayside. Small watercourses responded rapidly to the intense rainfall and localised impacts from these watercourses and small river catchments have been reported in East Lothian, Fife, Perth, and Stonehaven. A number of properties have been flooded in all the areas mentioned and a number of schools and roads have also been closed due to these floods.”

Authorities in Fife declared a “major incident” after flash floods caused severe damage across the region. Evacuations were carried out after a landslide near Kinghorn.

Some of the worst of the flooding was in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, where the heavy rain is also thought to have triggered a landslide near which derailed a train. Three people died and 6 were injured in the derailment. British Transport Police said they will conduct an investigation into the cause of the incident.

The capital Edinburgh recorded 43.2 mm of rain in 24 hours to 12 August. The small town of Inverbervie, around 10km south of Stonehaven, recorded 55.2 mm of rain during the same period.

As of 13 August, minor flooding was also reported in parts of England, including in parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, Staffordhire, Shropshire and Gloucestershire.

The village of Gnosall in Staffordshire recorded 94.8 mm of rain in 24 hours to 12 August.

Six flood alerts are in place in England, all in the Midlands area. The UK’s Met Office have issued Yellow level warnings for thunderstorms across much of England until 17 August.

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Thunderstorms in France caused flooding on 12 August in parts of the northern Normandy Region.

Firefighters in the region carried out 464 interventions in the departments of Orne, Calvados and Seine-Maritime. The flooding has disrupted road and rail travel.

Argentan in Orne Department recorded 28.6 mm of rain in 1 hour. Saint-Sylvain in Calvados recorded 59.8mm of rain in 3 hours.

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Officials in Italy report that 3 people died and 2 were injured after heavy rain triggered a landslide in Chiareggio, a small village in the Chiesa in Valmalenco municipality, Sondrio Province in the Lombardy Region on 12 August.

Around 180 people have been evacuated from the affected areas.

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