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Death toll caused by Storm Alex rises to 15, 21 still missing in France and Italy


The number of fatalities caused by heavy rain and strong winds produced by Storm Alex from October 2 to 4, 2020, has risen to 15 on October 7, with 21 people still missing. The storm caused very strong winds and dropped exceptionally heavy rains, with some regions receiving their yearly average in less than 24 hours. More rain is forecast in the affected areas over the coming days.

  • Storm Alex caused devastating landslides and floods, destroyed homes, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, causing power, communication, and running water outages in both France and Italy.
  • The number of casualties in France rose to 4 and in Italy to 8 by October 7. At least 21 people are still missing.
  • Strong gusts caused each one death in Austria, Poland, and the Czech Republic, bringing the death toll to 15.
  • This is the first named storm of the 2020/21 European windstorm season (September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021).

Alex underwent explosive cyclogenesis before making landfall in western France on October 2, with winds up to 142 km/h (88 mph). As it moved inland, Alex started dropping extremely heavy rain on parts of France and Italy, especially their mountainous border region.

According to the WMO, the storm led to the advection of Mediterranean air northwards where it interacted with the coastal topography producing a heavy rainfall in southeast France, known as a "Mediterranean Episode."

According to local media reports, at least 8 people were killed in Liguria and Piemonte, Italy, with landslides damaging infrastructure and homes.

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

21 people are still missing and 4 are confirmed dead in France.

The storm dropped up to 500.2 mm (19.69 inches) in some areas of the French Alpes-Maritimes region in just 24 hours, generally from 250 to 300 mm (9.8 to 11.8 inches). 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.

Catastrophic damage, described by authorities as 'worst in living memory,' was reported around Nice.

Météo-France reported a maximum of 571 mm (22.5 inches) in 24 hours in Mons, west of Nice.

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Featured image: Bridge destroyed in Saint Martin Vesubie, Ales Maritimes, France on October 2, 2020. Credit: Lionel. L (stillshot)


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