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Dangerous weather in south-east

Fifteen departments on orange alert for violent winds and heavy rainstorms – with warning of high waves on coast

FIFTEEN departments down the south-eastern side of France were on orange alert for heavy rainstorms and violent winds that last night caused damage in the Ardèche.

Météo France said that residents in Ain, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Bouches-du-Rhône, Côte-d'Or, Drôme, Gard, Hautes-Alpes, Isère, Loire, Rhône, Saône-et-Loire, Var and Vaucluse should be extremely cautious when outside and should avoid going near watercourses because of a high risk of sudden intense floods.

It was thought that the alert level could even be raised to red for severe danger as violent winds and sheets of water were expected on higher ground.

Residents in coastal departments have also been warned to beware high waves being driven by winds that saw gusts reaching 100kph – and up to 140kph on higher ground.

Météo France said that 31.5cm of rain fell in 24 hours in the area from the Gard to the Ardèche Cévennes – with the total rainfall expected to exceed 45cm in places.

Thunderstorms are expected to continue throughout the day while clearing to the east tomorrow morning.

Ardèche was particularly badly hit overnight, with rivers running very high and numerous support walls failing on road. There were also landslides including one on the RN102 between Aubenas and Le-Puy-en-Velay.

Snow fell above 1,300m in the Pyrenees and Massif Central and above 1,600m in the Alps.

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