Cars washed away and village ‘cut in two’ by mudslides in north France

Storms and rain are expected to continue across most of the country today and tomorrow

The mudslides were mostly located around the town of Albert in the Somme. Cars here are shown continuing to drive but elsewhere were washed away
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Violent storms and torrential rain hit the north of France yesterday (May 21), causing homes to flood and mudslides to pour down streets, washing away cars. 

Several residents were evacuated from their homes. A village near the town of Albert in the Somme department was “cut in two” by the mudslides, said the local prefecture, despite the department not being subject to any storm alert. Farms and fields have also been heavily impacted.

Villages near Albert, such as Etinehem-Méricourt, Morlancourt and Sailly-Laurette, were the worst affected by the mudslides. Around 40mm of rain, which is usually the equivalent of all the precipitation in the month of May, fell very quickly. 

No injuries have been reported but 13 people were evacuated to the salle des fêtes in Sailly-Laurette. Tens of cars were washed away by mudslides in different villages and doors and windows were forced off their hinges on several properties. 70 firefighters and police officers were mobilised. 

D’un seul coup, il y a eu de la pression au niveau de ma porte d'entrée et la boue est rentrée, mais je n’ai pas eu le temps de réagir. Toute la maison était envahie.

"All of a sudden, there was pressure on the front door and the mud came in, but I did not have time to react. The whole house has been invaded," a local resident told France 3. 

Another said: "We were having dinner. Mud started coming into the house. It lifted the flowerpots, which smashed a bay window. There was a torrent and the furniture went flying." 

Mudslides pour down streets

Below you can see footage of the mudslides in the Somme.

Watch as the mudslides pour down this street. 

Here, you can see cars struggle down a flooded road, fighting against the mudslide. 

In the Oise, there was similar weather, with 35mm of precipitation in less than an hour. 


Storms also hit the west of the country including Morbihan (Brittany), where 280 lightning strikes were recorded throughout the night.

A majority of French departments remain on yellow (low level) alert for storms today and tomorrow, especially around Paris and in the centre of France. 

The bad weather is expected to continue with rain and storms predicted in three quarters of the country - with only parts of the south-east spared. Temperatures are likely to reach as high as 23C in the south-east and stay around 15C in the rest of the country.

To date, this month has been the rainiest and least sunny May for the past ten years. 

On Monday (May 20), a violent hail storm hit Dijon, covering the streets in white, with up to 30cm of hail. However, it only lasted 15 minutes.