Several have been killed and dozens are still missing in an area along the border of France and Italy after Storm Alex brought torrential rainfall on Friday night and Saturday.
Throughout the weekend, search and rescue missions have continued along the border of France and Italy. As of early Monday, local time, at least nine bodies have been found, according to Reuters. The death toll is expected to climb as search and rescue missions continue this week.
Dozens are still missing across the border region, eight of which are a direct result of the storm after witnesses watched floodwaters sweep them away.
After washing away roads and bridges, floodwaters have deposited mud and debris throughout the mountain communities. Cars were seen stuck in the mud and flipped in the streets after being tossed around.
This photo released by the French Securite Civile Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, shows pile of trees on a bridge over La Vesubie river in Saint-Jean-la-Riviere, southeastern France, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. Flooding has devastated mountainous areas in France's southeastern region of Alpes-Maritimes and Italy's northwestern regions of Liguria and Piedmont, after a storm swept through the two countries on Friday and Saturday. (Sécurité Civile-UIISC via AP)
According to The Telegraph, hundreds of rescue operations were underway in Italy on Saturday, including campers stranded in the Alpine region. Several people were forced to evacuate by foot due to flooding near Terme di Valdieri.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi stated that over 100 homes have been severely damaged or destroyed near the French city. Several dozen people were evacuated by firefighters overnight.
On Wednesday, President of France Emmanuel Macron signed a natural disaster decree after visiting victims and rescue workers in Alpes-Maritimes.
This devastation was caused by Storm Alex, a large windstorm that moved over France late last week. While the center of the storm stalled over northern France, a cold front swept into central Europe and extended the flooding downpours as far east as the Balkan Peninsula.
The heaviest rainfall was largely concentrated on the Alps and surrounding areas.
In a 24-hour period from Friday morning to Saturday morning, local time, 500.2 mm (19.62 inches) of rain fell in Saint-Martin-Vésubie, located in the Alpes-Maritimes department of southeastern France. According to Meteo France, this is more than three months worth of rain and a record for the location.
Cumuls de #pluie 02/10 6h UTC au 03/10 6h UTC :
✅ 500,2mm à Saint-Martin-Vésubie en 24h, soit un peu plus de trois mois de pluie. Record absolu pour la station, ainsi qu'à l'échelle départementale.
📷 Dragon_06 (Facebook) pic.twitter.com/anbvhbJQbR
— Météo-France (@meteofrance) October 3, 2020
Rainfall totals of 200-400 mm (8-16 inches) were common across the department, causing flooding and washouts across the region.
Many across France were preparing for Storm Alex's arrival and impacts since the middle of the week.
On Wednesday, Sept. 30, Météo-France officially gave this large storm system the name Storm Alex due to its anticipated impacts to western Europe.
Storm Alex tracked across Ireland, Wales and western England on Thursday before moving over northwestern France on Thursday night.
Gale-force winds of up to 98 km/h (61 mph) were reported in southwestern England in Barry Head and the Isle of Wight Friday morning. According to the Guardian, unplanned power outages were reported by Western Power Distribution and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.
Storm Alex brought damaging winds to portions of northwestern France on Thursday night as well. One of the hardest-hit areas was the department of Morbihan within the region of Brittany. Morbihan experienced structural damage to buildings, downed power lines and plenty of tree damage into Friday morning.
+ de 80 interv° des pompiers #Morbihan depuis le début #VigilanceRouge pr des chutes d'arbres/d'objets, des assèchements, des toitures envolées ou des câbles électriques tombés à terre
Ne sortez pas
Ne touchez en aucun cas à des fils électriques tombés au sol pic.twitter.com/lWgCm2M6Uo
— Préfet du Morbihan (@Prefet56) October 1, 2020
Just offshore, Belle-Île, Brittany's largest island, recorded a wind gust of 186 km/h (115 mph). This powerful wind gust was the strongest ever recorded by the station on Belle-Île.
Along with Brittany, damaging wind gusts were reported across portions of Pays de la Loire, Aquitaine and Midi Pyrenées, according to Météo-France.
🌬️ #Tempête #Alex
Cette nuit les vents ont soufflé très forts sur la #Bretagne en particulier sur le #Morbihan. Une rafale a été mesurée à 186 km/h à #Belleile-en-mer, à 23h56 loc. très exactement.
Voici d'autres valeurs relevées dans le secteur ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/mGLJtczznZ
— Météo-France (@meteofrance) October 2, 2020
On Friday morning, local time, more than 100,000 homes were without power, according to Ouest France. A majority of those homes without power are located in the region of Brittany.
Beaches were also closed across Nice, France, on Friday as strong winds and heavy rainfall pounded the coastline.
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