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Red weather alert for flooding to remain in place in northern France until Friday

The Local France
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Red weather alert for flooding to remain in place in northern France until Friday
This photograph shows a flooded street in Neuville-sous-Montreuil, northern France, on November 9, 2023. (Photo by Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP)

French authorities urged residents in northern France to "be vigilant" after heavy rainfall began to hit the area again on Thursday, just days after flooding caused widespread damage.

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Following historic flooding earlier in the week, more heavy rains and storms hit northern France on Thursday afternoon.

The Pas-de-Calais département was again been placed on France's highest weather warning (red level) on Thursday afternoon, and the alert was set to remain in place on Friday as well.

Meanwhile, three other nearby départements: Nord, Somme Seine-Maritime, as well as the south-western département Charente-Maritime were listed on the 'orange' weather alert for heavy rains and possible flooding on Thursday. 

These départements were also expected to remain under the 'orange alert' on Friday.

France's interior minister, Gérald Darmanin announced that schools in 200 communes in the area would remain closed until Monday. Darmanin said there would also be closures in nurseries and other locations offering public services. The list can be found here.

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The interior minister also called on the population in Pas-de-Calais to "be vigilant."

"Stay out of basements and cellars, stay away from streams and rivers, go upstairs when possible, unplug electrical appliances and remain in close contact with emergency services", Darmanin warned on Thursday.

According to Météo France, rainfall began on Thursday morning, with heavy showers and occasional thunderstorms expected in the western portions of the Pas-de-Calais département on Thursday.

The precipitation was predicted to last until late Friday morning.

Forecasters anticipate that the western half of Pas-de-Calais will receive a total of approximately 50 to 70mm in rainfall, potentially up to 80 to 100mm in some areas.

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Rivers in the area, such as the Liane and the Aa, were listed under the 'red alert' for flooding, and some others were placed on 'orange alert', such as the Hem and the Canche, according to local authorities.

Earlier in the week, some parts of Pas-de-Calais experienced record rainfall which occurs "on average once in a century", according to Météo France, with up to 275mm of precipitation in under two weeks recorded in the town of Baignhen, for instance.

According to local authorities, 44 households were still without power as of Thursday morning, and 5,200 residents of the département had been lacking running water since Tuesday evening. 

An FR-Alert message was sent on on Thursday morning to inform residents of the expected weather conditions, as well as to offer safety instructions. 

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