France – 1 Missing, 1,600 Evacuated After Floods in South

An intense storm episode in the Rhône Valley, France, on 09 August 2018 dumped over 100 mm of rain in 1 hour, causing rivers to overflow. As many as 1,600 people were evacuated. One man has been reported missing in the floods.

Flooding in Gard department, 09 August 2018. Credit: Pompiers du Gard

France’s Ministry of Interior said the storm caused a sudden flood of tributaries of the Rhône and Ardèche rivers. Ardèche, Gard and Drôme departments were all affected.

In a statement of 09 August, the Ministry said that a team of 400 Gendarmerie, firefighters, police and civil security, as well as 4 helicopters, were mobilized and sent to affected areas.

As many as 1,600 people, mainly campers, were evacuated as a precaution in Ardèche, Gard and Drôme departments. Some houses on the banks of the Cèze river in Goudargues were also evacuated.

The evacuated campers included 119 children from a campsite in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, Gard department, where Ardèche river burst its banks. Four of the children were transported to a hospital in Bagnols sur Cèze and treated for hypothermia. A man who was helping supervise the children’s summer camp is still missing.

Rivers and Rainfall

Meteo France had warned of heavy rainfall in the region for 09 August, with up to 200 mm of rainfall forecast.

Image: Meteo France

In the event, by 17:00 on 09 August, 240 mm of rain had fallen in Saint-Martin-d’Ardèche, according to Meteo France figures, with 105 mm of that total falling in just 1 hour. Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, also in Ardèche, recorded 201 mm during the same period.

In Gard department, Méjannes-le-Clap recorded 167 mm and Bessèges, situated on the Cèze river, recorded 150 mm.

Image: Meteo France

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