Severe thunderstorms and record rains hit the Gard on Tuesday, September 14th, while Météo-France warns that strong thunderstorms are still expected on Wednesday, September 15th.
According to the Gard prefecture, the person who went missing in the town of Aimargues after falling in the Rhôny river, south-west of Nîmes, was eventually found safe and sound. She spent several hours in the water, according to a witness at BFM and Le Parisien.
Before this very person, two others had gone missing earlier in the day in Aigues-Vives and Uchaud, both near the A9 highway that connects Nîmes and Montpellier. One was found, the prefecture said during the day, adding that research and testimonies on the second person had led them to “rule out the hypothesis of disappearance at this stage.”
So far, no casualties have been officially reported in the department, with the exception of a “lightly injured” person struck by lightning.
Tuesday evening, as he arrived on the scene to meet with emergency services and authorities, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin issued a warning about the events’ continuation, “We are especially 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 starting tonight,” the prefecture said, adding that “public and private schools will remain closed on Wednesday.”
On Wednesday morning, the Gard reverted to orange vigilance for thunderstorms, rain-floods, and floods, “We expect strong rainfall intensities of the order of 80 to 100mm in a short time locally for Hérault and Gard, 50 to 80mm for Ardèche and Drôme,” Météo France notes in its 8 am bulletin on September 15th.
The organization has activated orange vigilance for thunderstorms in four departments: Ardèche, Drôme, Gard, Hérault, and Isère.
The stormy wave that has been affecting a large part of the south of France since the morning has been particularly active in the Gard, affecting approximately sixty municipalities.
Between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., the department was placed on red alert, particularly in the vicinity of Nîmes, where the roof of a shopping centre had partially collapsed.