Severe thunderstorms and record rains hit the Gard on Tuesday, where one person is missing, and Météo-France continues to call for caution in the area, with “strong thunderstorms” still expected on Wednesday. “A person is missing in the town
Aimargues after a fall in the Rhôny river “, south-west of Nîmes, the Gard prefecture indicated on Tuesday evening in its latest press release.
Two other people had been temporarily missing earlier in the day, in Aigues-Vives and Uchaud, two localities close to the A9 motorway connecting Nîmes to Montpellier. One “was found”, specified the prefecture at the end of the afternoon, adding that the research and testimonies on the second wanted person led, “at this stage, to rule out the hypothesis of disappearance”. So far, no casualty, except a “lightly injured” struck by lightning, has been officially reported in the department.
The Gard has gone back to orange vigilance
Come to meet the emergency services and the authorities on the spot, Tuesday evening, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin warned about the continuation of the events: “We are particularly vigilant in the Hérault and the Gard, where we fear other episodes of this type in the hours and days to come ”. The situation “will deteriorate again from tonight,” the prefecture confirmed, announcing that “public and private schools will remain closed on Wednesday”.
The Gard went back to orange vigilance for thunderstorms, rain-floods and floods on Wednesday morning: “We are expecting heavy rainfall in the order of 80 to 100 mm in a short time locally for Hérault and Gard, 50 at 80 mm for the Ardèche and the Drôme ”, Météo-France notes in its 6 o’clock bulletin. The organization has placed a total of eight departments in orange vigilance for thunderstorms (Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal, Aveyron, Hérault, Gard, Ardèche and Drôme).
244 mm of rain in three hours in Saint-Dionisy, a record in the Gard
The stormy wave that has affected a large part of the south of France since the start of the day has been particularly active in the Gard, where it has affected around sixty municipalities. The department was placed in red vigilance between 11:30 am and 2 pm. The Minister of the Interior described “very exceptional, very concentrated and very unpredictable circumstances”. “Nothing foreshadowed an event of such magnitude”, had confirmed in the afternoon Marc Pontaud, expert of Météo-France: “244 mm in three hours in Saint-Dionisy, it is something exceptional “, He insisted, recalling that the absolute record in the Gard was until then 216.4 mm in Saint-Martial on September 19, 2020.
While many roads and bridges were cut, the A9 motorway, a major axis connecting Italy to Spain, was closed for several hours. On this highway, “about 30 people were brought to safety by air and land,” said the firefighters, who carried out a total of 60 helicopter hoists and 450 safety interventions. At around 8:00 p.m., the motorway was reopened in both directions, Vinci said, but not on all lanes, with cleaning operations and work still underway.
“Another phenomenon is starting in Midi-Pyrénées, where a hundred millimeters in three hours are expected,” warned Marc Pontaud, according to whom precipitation will again affect Languedoc in the second part of the night: “A priori , we exclude a worst-case scenario for the moment, ”he nevertheless reassured.