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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

4 February 2021
By Connexion journalist

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.

 

These satellite images show the rise of the Garonne in the region.

No deaths or serious incidents were reported overnight.

Read more: Video: Floods in southwest France sweep boats away

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.

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.

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