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2 missing after worst rainfall in 120 years triggers flash flooding in southern France


At least 2 people are missing after torrential rains triggered flash flooding in several departments of southern France on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Valleraugue commune in Gard Department recorded up to 468 mm (18 inches) of rain in just a 6-hour period, which is over six times the average rain for September of 75 mm (3 inches)– the worst since 1900.

Meteo France reported violent storms in the foothills of the Cevennes mountains on Saturday, with the worst affected departments Gard, Lozere, and Herault.

In a six-hour period, Vigan recorded 196 mm (8 inches) of rain, Saumane 175 mm (7 inches), and an exceptional 468 mm (18 inches) in Valleraugue, including 361 mm (14 inches) in just three hours. According to AFP, this was the worst downpour in the area since 1900.

Climate data also shows that the commune usually receives around 75 mm (3 inches) of rain for the month of September, which means the area was hit by over six months' worth of rain in less than a day.

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Emergency services deployed some 650 personnel and mobilized helicopters for evacuations and rescue operations.

As of Sunday, September 20, around 421 people have been moved to shelter, including more than 200 in Anduze commune, and 46 people have been rescued.

As a result of the flooding, 12 roads and five bridges have been temporarily closed. Water and electricity supplies had also been cut in some areas in Gard.

At least two people were reported missing in the region. The victims were identified as a 64-year-old woman who was washed away by raging floods and a man who went missing during a hill run in the Cevennes.

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Featured image credit: Gard Firefighters


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