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Schools close, workers advised to go home: Storms hit southern France

Bouches-du-Rhône has been placed under a red flooding alert and five other departments have also been placed on an orange alert, with heavy rain, wind and hail forecast for Monday afternoon

Up to 240mm of rain is expected to fall in certain areas of Bouches-du-Rhône this afternoon. Pic: Budimir Jevtic / Shutterstock

[Update October 4 at 13:35: All schools in Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône and Var are closed this afternoon and parents are asked to come and collect their children if they can safely do so.]

Bouches-du-Rhône has been placed under a red flooding alert this morning (October 4), while it and five other departments are on an orange warning for storms.  

The areas on amber alert are: Alpes-Maritimes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Vaucluse, Var and Haute-Corse. 

Météo France predicts that 30-40mm of rain could fall within one hour this morning in the east of Bouches-du-Rhône, with 106mm in Mimet having already fallen yesterday evening in Mimet and 89mm in Orange (Vaucluse). 

The rain will last for a few hours – with around 150mm of water falling – until easing slightly in the late morning. However, in the afternoon a stormy weather system will move around Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and the other departments on a weather alert. 

Météo France expects 40-60mm to fall in a short period of time, joined by strong winds and hail. In Bouches-du-Rhône up to 240 mm of rain could fall in some places.  

Weather conditions should improve – starting in the west – at the end of the day.

What should I do during a red alert? 

In the case of a red alert, very heavy rainfall is expected to affect homes and businesses for several days, with flooding predicted across the area. 

Roads may be rendered impassable and residents could be affected by power cuts. 

People in a red alert zone are generally advised by Météo France to stay upstairs at home and not use their cars if possible. They should also keep away from bodies of water, low points, basements and cellars.  

The Mayor of Marseille Benoît Payan has requested parents to keep their children home from school if possible. 

“Schools will remain open on a reduced level for those who have no other option,” he said. 

Further information about the situation can be found on the Météo France website.

Later in the morning, local authorities in Alpes-Maritimes, Var and Bouches-du-Rhône announced that all schools would be closing in the afternoon, asking that parents collect their children and also that workers set off early for home.  

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