15 October 2018 (Sky News) – At least 13 people have been killed in flash floods in the southwest of France, local officials say.

Several months' worth of rain fell in just a few hours overnight in the region of Aude, with one river rising by more than 20ft (6m).

It is believe to be the worst flooding in the area since 1891.

Interior Ministry spokesman Frederic de Lanouvelle said one other person is missing and five others are seriously hurt.

He said nine of the 13 dead were clustered in one town, Trebes, in the Aude region, and that the number of dead could increase.

The flash floods swamped a number of towns and villages around the fortress city of Carcassonne, leaving a trail of overturned cars, damaged roads and collapsed homes.

BFM TV said one victim, an elderly nun, was swept away by flood waters, and two people who had been reported missing were found dead.

Another person was killed when their house collapsed during the violent rainstorms.

"There's water everywhere in the house. Everything is flooded," said Helene Segura, 70, from Villegailhenc, where at least one small bridge had collapsed.

"When I look out the window, I can only see water and mud everywhere."

The prefect of Aude, Alain Thirion, told BFM TV: "We have people stranded on rooftops.

"We're going to have to use aircraft to evacuate them because we cannot reach them by boat given the force of the water. It's too dangerous." […]

Torrential rains are not uncommon in France at this time of year but meteorologists have said warm sea water may be intensifying them in the wake of Tropical Storm Leslie, which passed over Portugal and Spain. [more]

13 people killed as flash flooding hits France


A firefighter helps a youngster to evacuate in a flooded street during a rescue operation following heavy rains that saw rivers bursting banks on 15 October 2018 in Trebes, near Carcassone, southern France. Photo: Pascal Pavani / AFP / Getty Images

By Richard Lough, Simon Carraud and Brian Love; Editing by Louise Ireland
15 October 2018

PARIS (Reuters) – At least 13 people have been killed in southwestern France by some of the worst flash floods in a century, local authorities said on Monday.

Television pictures showed raging, muddy rivers - swollen by torrential rain - that had uprooted trees, knocked over concrete power pylons and swept away cars in the southern region of Aude, near the medieval hilltop city of Carcassonne.

National emergency services spokesman Michael Bernier said 13 people had been killed and one person was still missing. Thousands were being evacuated from the area, where officials said up to seven months’ worth of rain had fallen overnight.

“The death toll risks going up,” a spokesman for the Interior Ministry told BFM TV.

Seven helicopters were scrambled to rescue people from the roofs of their homes, and rough weather was making operations difficult, the prefect of Aude, Alain Thirion, said. […]

The flash floods struck without warning. At least one victim was swept away by raging waters while sleeping, Thirion said.

Water levels were expected to keep rising after more heavy rain. Schools were shut and residents told to stay at home. […]

The year so far is France’s hottest since 1900, according to the state meteorological service. [more]

At least 13 killed by flash floods in southern France

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