For the French province of Bouches-du-Rhone, where a neighborhood was evacuated as a precaution in Marseille, the red code – the highest code – for severe weather is no longer in effect since 6pm on Monday. This symbol has been changed to orange, just as it is in the Var and Alpes-Maritimes.
“We are entering a period of unprecedented storm,” Marseille Mayor Benoit Bayan warned on BFMTV this morning. According to him, this was the first time in twenty years that the city had to deal with a red code. In June 2019, there was a red symbol of the department, for a heat wave. Video footage from local media shows water flowing into the streets after heavy rain.
In Saint-Loup, people living on the banks of the Huveaune had to leave their homes before 2 p.m. They can go to the gym. In Marseille, “the equivalent of months of rain” fell during one night, as much as 180mm of water according to Météo-France. The mayor of Marseille called on residents to stay at home as much as possible. He asked the French Prime Minister to declare the city a disaster area in order to mitigate the compensation for the damages. Schools were closed and parents were asked to bring their children. Residents were urged to stay away from the coast.
After a week-long strike by garbage collectors, who returned to work this weekend, garbage continued to pile up on city streets. According to Isabelle Poitou, biologist and director of the MerTerre Association in Marseille, the situation is “catastrophic”, with “litter that will be washed up on the beaches and the sea in the coming days”.
On Monday evening, code orange still applies to Bouches-du-Rhône and five other departments: Var, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Haute-Corse and Vaucluse. Schools also had to close in Var and Alpes-Maritime. More than 200 mm of rain had already fallen in the Brignoles region of the Var around 6 p.m. on Monday, as did eastern Corsica. It can reach 250 mm.
In the Alpes-Maritimes department, the governor advised residents to leave their workshops early. A year ago, 10 people were killed after heavy rains. In the latest forecast, Méteo-France still expects the warnings to apply until 10pm.
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