At least three people have died. “Over the past three days, particularly severe storms have hit the south of France, causing three deaths and serious damage to the region,” the French Interior Ministry said in a statement. The town of Béziers saw 198mm (nearly 8in) of rain, or about two months’ average rainfall, in just six hours on Wednesday morning. The departments of Aude, Aveyron, Gard, Hérault, Pyrénées-Orientales, Tarn, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Vaucluse were on orange alert. Interior minister Christophe Castaner called residents to “take the greatest care, and respect guidelines” from local authorities.
Heavy rain has already caused flooding in the Aude, Hérault, Ardèche, and Pyrénées-Orientales departments. In the Pyrénées-Orientales, five departmental roads are inaccessible, especially in the commune of Saint-Cyprien, after rain of 100-200mm fell, and waves of three to five metres’ high threatened to engulf the coast. The heavy floods this week also killed at least two people in northern Italy, and one person in northern Spain.