A person was still wanted by the rescue service Tuesday evening after the flooding hit Gard. About sixty municipalities were damaged. Gérald Darmanin, who went there, announced the natural disaster situation for the next week.
Torrential storms and record rains hit Gard on Tuesday, where 900 firefighters are still mobilized, and Météo-France continues to call for caution in much of southern France. According to an update reported at 10 PM, 13 departments took part in orange vigilance. No victims were reported in the department other than “minor injured” struck by lightning, and officials this Tuesday evening still refused to assess the damage.
However, Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, who came to meet the emergency services and authorities on-site this Tuesday evening, warned: hours and days will come.
I give my full support to the residents of the region who have suffered from these bad weather conditions and urge them to be extremely vigilant in the coming days.
The state will react with prompt recognition of the natural disaster situation. pic.twitter.com/2wdeVpUeRV
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) September 14, 2021
In its latest press release, the Gard prefecture warned that, after an improvement, the situation “will worsen again from tonight” and has already decided that “public and private schools will remain closed on Wednesday.” At the fire command center in Bernis, the Home Secretary praised “a very quick response that allowed lives to be saved”.
Two people were temporarily lost at two places in Aigues-Vives and Uchaud, close to the A9 motorway connecting Nîmes with Montpellier. In the afternoon, the Governor’s Office stated that someone was “found”, adding that research and testimonies about the second wanted person “at this stage, led to the elimination of the disappearance hypothesis”. “As far as I know, one person is still being sought,” the minister said.
The storm, which has affected most of the south of France since the beginning of the day, has affected around sixty municipalities, especially in Gard. The department was kept on high alert between 11:30 and 14:00, especially around Nîmes, where the roof of a shopping mall had partially collapsed.
“Impression of a wave”
The Minister of the Interior described “very exceptional, very intense and very unpredictable situations”.
“Nothing foreshadowed such a big event”, insisted Météo-France expert Marc Pontaud in the afternoon “244mm in three hours in Saint-Dionisy, this is extraordinary”, insisting that the absolute record in France, Gard, September 19 At Saint-Martial in 2020 it was 216.4mm by then.
Bad weather at Gard: “Nothing allows us to predict an event of this magnitude,” says Météo France
In the village of Aubord, many ground floors were flooded, but with no significant damage, mayor André Brundu said: “Fortunately we still have the chance to have two large pools of water somewhere in our misfortune, holding about 460,000 m3 of water”. “Suddenly it rose up,” said village grocer Christelle Plagnes. “We had the impression that a wave was coming, it was very impressive”.
A9 reopened in the evening
Especially at the transport level, the disturbances were the strongest, and the displays were the most impressive. Many roads and bridges were cut, while the A9 motorway, the main axis connecting the Rhône valley, the Marseille region and Italy to Spain, was closed to traffic for hours. According to Gerald Darmanin, firefighters who performed a total of 60 helicopters and 450 safety interventions “secured about 30 people by air and ground” on this highway. Around 8 pm, Vinci said the highway reopened in both directions, but cleanup operations and work were still ongoing.
Traffic slowly resumed @A9Trafik but it remains very complex following the results of the very heavy rain that has fallen since this morning. Our teams continue to mobilize to clear roads and repair major damage. pic.twitter.com/pxEw6JfGs5
– VINCI Autoroutes (@VINCIAutoroutes) September 14, 2021
In affected areas, the governor’s office, among other precautionary measures, advised parents to leave their children in the canteen at noon and employees to stay at their company to allow the storm to pass. Gard schools will remain closed on Wednesday, September 15.
In the morning, Météo-France had six departments on orange alert. They had gone to twelve in the afternoon. Marc Pontaud warned that rains would affect Languedoc again in the second half of the night: case scenario for now,” he assured.