Garonne still on red flood alert but waters receding
Another 13 departments are on orange flood alert, in Météo France's mid-morning weather update
The Lot-et-Garonne department in southwest France remains on red alert for floods with the Garonne reaching its highest level in decades, while 13 other departments were on the second-highest warning in forecaster Météo France's mid-morning update, with further rain forecast for later in the day.
Overnight, the Garonne peaked at 10.2m at Marmande before slowly receding. Floods watchdog Vigicrues warned that the river will remain high in that stretch in Lot-et-Garonne throughout Thursday, February 4, and said extreme vigilance is required along flooded areas of the riverbed.
That's the Garonne! We're 40 mi upstream from the sea.— Mael Cornic (@MaelCornic) February 3, 2021
The Lot-et-Garonne district (about to be renamed Lot of Garonne) tonight: pic.twitter.com/Iu9Qve23EZ
These satellite images show the rise of the Garonne in the region.
La vue du satellite permet de mesurer l'ampleur de la crue de la #Garonne entre #Tonneins et #Marmande dans le Lot-et-Garonne. Les zones noires sont les secteurs sous les eaux. (via @meteociel) pic.twitter.com/HLnMoagpxx— Guillaume Séchet (@Meteovilles) February 4, 2021
No deaths or serious incidents were reported overnight.
The midnight peak at Marmande was lower than the flood of December 15, 1981, when the river reached 10.56m, but it is the highest level observed there in 40 years.
Overnight some 80 inhabitants were evacuated from their homes in Port-Sainte-Marie, where there is concern over a number of weakened dykes.
Shortly after 5am, the Marmande marker showed the level of the Garonne at 10.12m. Further downriver, waters were still rising. At Langon, they had reached 11.21m shortly before 6am.
#vigicrues confirme le caractère exceptionnel de la crue sur #Garonne. Il s'agit de la crue la + haute depuis 40 ans sur #Marmande avec des débordements généralisés et de nombreuses routes coupées.— Ludovic Bernede (@LBMeteo) February 4, 2021
Photos : ponts de #Marmande et #MasdAgenais par JL Lalloz et Michel Lague via fb. pic.twitter.com/ldTcGpopC2
According to the prefecture of the Lot-et-Garonne, the D1113 between La Réole - Marmande remains impassable, while clearing of rail tracks around Agen will take all day. The D813 between Port Sainte Marie and Aiguillon has been reopened and the bridge at Saint-Léger is expected to reopen to traffic at about midday.
But the town of Marmande remains accessible only from the north and west.
The 13 departments on orange alert for floods are: Deux-Sèvres, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Tarn-et-Garonne, Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Somme, Aisne, Oise and Saône-et-Loire.
More rain is forecast as a new weather front comes in from the west, Météo France warned. While rainfall is expected to be modest in comparison to the recent passage of Storm Justine, 'given the accumulation of precipitation over the country and the ongoing floods, forecasters are keeping a close eye on developments in those departments in particular.
It is expected to be several days before river levels return to normal - and additional rain will slow down the process, experts warned.