WEATHER forecasters have declared a red alert in Hérault this evening and until tomorrow morning due to heavy thunderstorms and flooding.
Streets in Montpellier were under running water after the river Lez burst its banks and at least 22 roads were closed by floodwaters. School transport was also badly disrupted.
Météo France advised residents to stay in their homes and on no account to walk or drive on flooded roads or to go near watercourses.
The orange alert that was declared for Hérault, Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales was extended to Lozère and Aveyron as the forecasters warned that up to 20cm of rain could fall.
Heavy overnight rains in Languedoc-Roussillon saw 10cm of rain fall in the Plaine du Roussillon and 15cm in Corbières.
Earlier forecasters had warned that the heaviest rains were likely towards the end of the afternoon and would be accompanied by a strong easterly wind.
At least 10cm of rain is expected to fall on low-lying areas but the danger may come from flash-floods in Aude and Hérault caused by the 20cm of rain forecast in the high country. In all, forecasters expect about three months’ rain in 24 hours.
Stormy weather is expected is also expected today in both Centre and Haute-Normandie regions, although it is not thought it will be of the same intensity as in the south where the storms are being fed by a strong depression extending north from Spain and crossing the Golfe de Lion.
Based over the Balearics, the depression is filling with heat and humidity from the Mediterranean, which is warmer than normal. It will move over Corsica and Provence on Wednesday.
You can check the Météo France rain radar to see where the heaviest rain is falling.