France – Evacuations as Rivers Rise in North and South West

A period of heavy rainfall in France has caused rivers to rise and prompted authorities to issue flood warnings for 18 departments in the north and south west of the country.

More than half a month’s worth of rain fell in parts of France in 24 hours from 31 January to 01 February, according to Meteo France. River levels are high and as of 02 February, 18 departments were under Orange level (3 of 4) warnings for flooding, including 3 departments in the north and 15 in the south west.

On 01 February a Red level warning was issued for the Maronne river in Argentat, Corrèze department. On 02 February the Maronne river at Basteyroux, Argentat-sur-Dordogne, reached 3.31 metres. Around 150 people were evacuated. The warning has since been downgraded.

Flooding and storm debris has blocked roads in several south-western departments. As of 02 February, 48 roads were closed in Landes Department.

Severe flooding affected La Réole commune in the Gironde department, where levels of the Garonne river jumped to over 8 metres, well above levels reached during the floods of March 2006.

One person died in flood waters of the Sambre river in Berlaimont, Nord Department on 01 February, according to media reports. Levels of the Sambre in Berlaimont jumped from 0.5 metres on 28 January to 2.13 metres on 31 January.

Media also reported minor flooding along the banks of the Seine in Paris. Outer banks were flooded and some roads closed but no damage to buildings was reported. The Seine at Austerlitz jumped from 2.9m on 29 January to 4.23m on 02 February, 2021.

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