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Storm Alex hits Europe with extremely heavy rain and destructive winds


Storm Alex made landfall in France on October 2, 2020, with powerful winds and extremely heavy rains. It caused severe floods in France and Italy, with some of them described as the worst in living memory. At least 2 people have died and 34 remain missing in both countries.

French authorities confirmed 18 people missing, including 2 firefighters, after devastating flooding along the French Riviera coast and inland areas where rivers burst their banks, destroying bridges and flooding roads.

A red weather warning was issued for the Alpes-Maritimes department, where Alex dropped up to 500.2 mm (19.69 inches) in some areas in just 24 hours. The only time this region saw more rain was on October 3, 2015, when floods left 20 people dead in and around the French Riviera city of Cannes.

Firefighters in Alpes-Maritimes said they had been called more than 380 times overnight October 2 – 3.

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Authorities in Nice said early Saturday they have 9 people missing and 3 others feared to be missing. Later in the day, the mayor of Nice — Christian Estrosi — said two bodies had been found and identified.

More than 100 homes were destroyed in a number of villages around Nice where catastrophic damage was reported.

Estrosi described it as the 'worst flooding in living memory.'

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At least 16 people were reported missing in Italy on Saturday where overnight rainfall in northern Italy's Piedmont region hit levels not seen since 1958.

The region registered as much as 630 millimeters (24.8 inches) of rain in a 24 hour period, according to the Italian civil protection agency.

Hundreds of rescue operations were carried out, AP reports.

Eleven campers were saved in Vercelli province, where floodwaters hit 20-year highs. The Italian civil protection agency spokeswoman Mara Anastasi said 21 people had been found and evacuated by helicopter by Saturday night, including two Germans and their grandchildren.

The extent of the damage is still being surveyed.

The storm has also affected Spain, Ireland, UK, and other neighboring countries, with warnings issued across the region.

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Featured image: Storm Alex on October 2, 2020. Credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP/VIIRS


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