Southern France put on maximum storm alert

French meteorologists have issued a red alert - the maximum warning - to residents in southern France due to heavy storms and the threat of flash flooding. Four people were killed in raging flood waters in the same area two weeks ago.

Southern France put on maximum storm alert
Nasty storms in southern France have prompted the country's top weather warning. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Residents in the Hérault department on the Mediterranean coast were under a red alert on Monday because of storms heavy rain just two weeks after four people were killed by raging flood waters in the area.

Downpours since midday on Monday left local authorities concerned enough about the risk of flash flooding that they put out the red alert, which warns people they are facing an exceptional danger. 

They are concerned the river Lez, the main waterway in the Hérault department will burst its banks.

According to reports 95mm of rain fell between midday and 4pm in parts of Hérault on Monday. 

The rains have forced officials to shut down trams in Montpellier and certain sections of roads and motorways are blocked due to flooding.

The storm warning is set to remain in place until 10am on Tuesday.

Under Météo France's guidelines for an "alert rouge" residents are advised that "an absolute vigilance is required, as hazards of exceptional intensity are forecast."

The public is also advised to regularly keep abreast of developments and that "it is essential to follow the safety instructions issued by the government." 

The departments of Gard, Aude and Pyrenees-Orientales were also been placed on Orange alert on Sunday night.

Four people died on September 18th when storms turned a peaceful river that bordered their camping site in Hérault into a raging torrent that swept them away.

Most of the victims were washed away from a campground in Lamalou-les-Bains by a two-metre-deep surge of water and one died after falling into a swollen river in Arnac in the Aveyron region.

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