Around midnight, no damage had been observed, and Météo-France had even lifted vigilance on the Aude earlier in the evening.
In the Hérault, where strong thunderstorms had started in the evening, the rain was very sustained without causing overflows, according to the firefighters, who however remained mobilized for the night.
Météo-France has forecast locally violent summer storms, without for the time being qualifying the episode as “Mediterranean”.
“The Mediterranean episode is when we start to have stationary cells which give strong accumulations of rain (…) from thresholds of 100 mm locally”, explained during a press briefing Frédéric Nathan, forecaster from Météo-France, describing the current episode as “fairly classic”.
“A stormy summer episode, which we have already experienced in the past: August 9, 2018, in 2006, in 2010 in June …”, he added. In its last bulletin, Météo-France predicted “a risk of violent phenomena”.
In the Hérault as in the Gard, Météo-France expects “very high” rainfall intensities, which can reach 80 mm in a very short time: “We can locally exceed 100 to 130 mm under stationary storms”.
In the Gard, as a precaution, the prefecture has recommended that campsites evacuate their customers. “Most have chosen to shelter, in their hard rooms, campers in tents or caravans,” the prefecture told AFP.
The Gard firefighters announced on Tuesday afternoon that they had reinforced all the barracks and had positioned three multipurpose flood groups on the ground.
After 2 a.m., the Vaucluse, the Bouches-du-Rhône and the Var will be hit by storms.
Like Hérault and Gard, these departments are placed on yellow alert for the risk of flooding.
In the Var on Wednesday morning, thunderstorms may be associated with strong gusts of wind and vortex phenomena. “After a few hours of calm, a new, very stormy episode will take place from Languedoc to Provence”, also informed Météo-France.
The Var firefighters announced that they were alerting “additional resources” including “six units of whitewater rescuers” on Wednesday.
The town hall of Bormes-les-Mimosas preferred to postpone until August 19 the ceremony commemorating the liberation of the German occupation of this village on August 17, 1944 by Allied troops following their landing on the coast of Provence two days earlier. . French President Emmanuel Macron traditionally attends this ceremony.
The authorities of the South-East departments in orange vigilance reminded the population to postpone any trip or, at the very least, to find out about the weather before hitting the road. “30 cm of water is enough to carry a car”, recalls the Var prefecture in a press release. It is also strictly inadvisable to stay close to watercourses or to take shelter under a tree.
In Paris and Ile-de-France, traffic was temporarily disrupted on Tuesday evening in public transport due to severe weather, thunderstorms qualified as “very intense” but which did little damage in the capital.
The departments of the Mediterranean arc have all experienced floods in the past with sometimes dramatic consequences.
In Vaison-la-Romaine (Vaucluse) in 1992, sudden and violent rains washed away part of the town and killed 37 people, the deadliest floods France has ever known.
Finally, in the fall of 2020, a deluge of water in the Alpes-Maritimes caused exceptional floods which carried away entire sections of the Vésubie and Roya valleys in their path. A tragedy that left ten dead, eight missing and two billion euros in damage.