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Extreme weather

Wild storms hit France, cars washed away in Corsica

People stand near cars swept away by a flooding in Ajaccio, Corsica. Nearly 200 people were taken to safety in Ajaccio, after torrential rains hit in the city, 11 June, 2020.
People stand near cars swept away by a flooding in Ajaccio, Corsica. Nearly 200 people were taken to safety in Ajaccio, after torrential rains hit in the city, 11 June, 2020. AFP - PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA
3 min

Violent storms have swept across France as weather warnings were issued on Friday for 16 areas in the east and south of the country. No injuries have been reported, but authorities have been called to rescue scores of people with serious damage to property in some areas. 

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In the Gard region, 250 millilitres of rain fell early Friday, cutting off some roads and causing the local rivers to rise to dangerous levels.

Trucks in the town of Saint-André-de-Majencoules were caught up in the current which swept across parts of the road, parts of which had washed away.

In southern Corsica, the district of Salines in Ajaccio suffered major storm damage and 150 people had to call rescue services for help.

Dozens of cars were swept away, as water rushed through the town centre, and basements and storefronts filled with mud.

Over the course of Friday afternoon, the Cévennes area, a mountain chain spanning 5 departments, including the Gard and Lozère saw massive flooding.

In some places up to 300 mm of rainfall was measured in 12 hours, what would fall in four separate storms.

More rain and violent storms are expected on Friday evening through Saturday in France's north east and the south.

16 departments have been placed under Meteo France's orange alert – a national severe weather warning.

L'Ardèche, le Gard, la Haute-Loire, la Lozère et Puy-de-Dôme are expected to see major rainfall and flooding.

While severe storm warnings have been given to the east of the country - Côte d'Or, Doubs, Jura, Haute-Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, la Meuse, Moselle, Haute-Saône, Vosges and the Territoire de Belfort.

French weather services described the phenomena as "cold drop" meaning that two air pressure systems, one tropical, the other polar, are separated by a wind known as jet stream causing an explosive storm combination.

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