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South-west France floods: one death, power cuts, transport disruption

The Garonne river burst its banks in the heavy rain with its level doubling in some places

Rivers have burst their banks in south-west France following a period of heavy rain Pic: kckate16 / Shutterstock

Two days of heavy rain have caused severe flooding in some areas of south-west France, disrupting road and rail networks. A woman in her 70s has been found dead.

Five departments, from Pyrénées-Atlantiques to Ariège were subject to red weather alerts for rain and/or flooding yesterday and today seven departments remain under an orange warning for high river levels.

Read more: Seven departments of south-west France still on orange weather alert

These are: Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Tarn-et-Garonne. 

Gendarmes spent all of yesterday looking for Evelyne, a woman in her 70s who had left her house around 07:30, armed with just an umbrella. 

Some time later, when she did not return, her husband called the gendarmerie, whose search sadly ended around 18:00 when her body was found in a ditch a few metres away from her home with the help of a police dog.

The gendarmerie has launched an investigation to determine the cause of death.

In Haute-Garonne and Ariège, the equivalent of a month's worth of rain fell over 48 hours. The Garonne river burst its banks in Toulouse yesterday afternoon (January 10), and some footpaths along the water’s edge had to be closed due to the flooding.

This morning, the Garonne continued rising to 4.27m past its January 2014 flood (3.78m) and close to that of June 2000 (4.38m).

In Lot-et-Garonne, the Garonne was at 6.09m in Agen at 07:00, having risen from 5.38m overnight and 2.96m yesterday morning. 

Several of the department’s roads are closed as a result of the weather conditions, including the D290 at Caudecoste, the D215 at Sauvetat de Savères, the D226 at Pujols and the road between Ayet and Tonneins. 

Around the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, nearly 900 homes experienced electricity outages after trees fell onto power lines. By the early evening, around 100 homes were still without electricity but supplier Enedis said that supply would return to normal over the course of the evening.

Train traffic was disrupted all day between Pau and Bedous and Bayonne and Puyoô but no problems have been reported this morning (January 11). 

In Occitanie, however, there are still problems on the Toulouse-Latour and Toulouse-Capdenac/Rodez/Mazamet lines. 

The orange warning is set to last all day. You can find out more on government information service Vigicrues. 

River levels are expected to continue rising until tomorrow but the worst of the rainy weather has now passed. 

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Schools and roads closed as flash floods hit south-west France

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