Heavy rain and storms returned to southeast France on Sunday, with national weather agency Météo France placing the departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Drôme and Vaucluse on orange alert and Var and the Alpes-Maritimes on red alert for flood and thunderstorm risk.
Torrential rain of “exceptional intensity” began in the early hours of Sunday throughout the Rhone Valley. The storm eventually drifted to the Alpine regions and western Provence by the morning and rainfall is expected to continue throughout much of Sunday.
#meteo06 @meteofrance a émis un bulletin de vigilance ROUGE “pluies-inondations” à partir de 14h, ce jour pour le département des #AlpesMaritimes. Fermeture des centres commerciaux, des cinémas et des salles de spectacle à 13h. Respectez les consignes de sécurité ! pic.twitter.com/n5RNSL3iCT
— PréfetAlpesMaritimes (@prefet06) December 1, 2019
Météo France has forecast up to 100mm of rainfall/sqm across “most of the southern half of the Var”, and between 80mm/ and 200mm/sqm in Alpes-Maritimes.
Vaucluse is expected to get between 20 and 80mm/sqm, with the heaviest rainfall forecast for the south and west of the department.
France’s public forecaster has warned against all forms of travel in the most affected departments, writing: “very serious flooding is possible. Driving conditions on the roads may be extremely difficult, visibility will be reduced and there may be considerable disruption to train travel”.
The ominous weather announcement comes just a week after another spell of torrential downpours and floods in south-east France cost six people their lives, including a couple whose car was swept away in rising waters.