Severe floods hit France as torrential rain continues

Days of torrential rain has caused rivers across France to burst their banks, overflowing roads and villages, with 18 départements still on high flood alert on Thursday.

Severe floods hit France as torrential rain continues
A woman on a bench in the flooded town of Tartas, south west France on February 2nd. Photo: AFP

According to France's weather agency Météo France, some 18 départements were on the second highest alert level (orange) for flooding on Thursday morning and the Lot-et-Garonne département in the south west was on red alert – the highest warning level.


The Garonne river that passes through the southwestern département of Lot-et-Garonne, was at risk of “major flooding”, according to the national weather forecaster.


Météo France also warned of “important flooding in the rest of the south west, the north and the north east of the country”.

Orange alert means the risk of flooding is very high, potentially dangerous and with detrimental impact on daily life for the areas concerned, and that people should be careful when leaving their home.

A warning sign in Cadillac, south west in France, after the Garonne river overflowed following heavy rainfalls, on February 3rd. Photo: AFP

France has been plagued by bad weather and heavy rain all week, which has seen rivers burst their banks in several parts of the country, blocking roads and flooding houses in some areas.

The town of Tartas in Landes, south west France, on February 2nd after the river of Midouze overflowed following torrential rain. Photo: AFP

In Paris, the Seine river overflowed after days of torrential rain, submerging the river banks that are normally walkways, cycle tracks and home to pop-up bars and coffee stalls.

IN PICTURES: Seine floods in Paris as France faces further storms

But the worst-hit areas were smaller towns in the south west, where rail lines were cut off and streets and homes filled with water. In the département of Landes, firefighters intervened in several towns earlier this week to provide emergency help to the population affected by the flooding. 

The floded streets of Tartas this week. Photo: AFP

Over the weekend a 70-year-old man died in the northern region of Hauts-de-France after he went out to watch the river Sambre and was caught off guard by the rising waters, according to French media.

The weather should improve in the coming days, according to Météo France.


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South west France on red alert for flooding

Five areas in south west France have been placed on a red weather alert for flooding as storms lash the region.

South west France on red alert for flooding
Storms are moving in to south west France over the Pyrenees. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Météo France has placed five départements in south west France – Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège – on a red weather alert for heavy rains and flooding.

Extremely heavy rainstorms have hit the area, with a band of storm clouds travelling along the Pyrenees, bringing the risk of avalanches in the mountains and flooding in lowland areas.

The neighbouring département of Pyrénées-Orientale is on orange alert, along with the principality of Andorra. In the north, Aisne is also on orange alert for heavy rain.

Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, gradually easing off towards the evening, although the flood alerts remain in place until Tuesday.