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WEATHER – Météo-France placed Loire-Atlantique on red “rain surge” vigilance this Saturday. This is the first time that this department has been assigned to this alarm level.
After the Gard in mid-September, Météo-France has kept the Loire-Atlantique this Saturday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. under red “rain tide” vigilance due to a “delivery of prolonged and persistent rains” until “exceptional character”. This is the first time this department has been so alarmed. 80 to 100 mm of rain is expected on “the central half of the department and could reach 110 mm locally”, the meteorological institute specifies, while 22 departments are also orange vigilant. It’s just over a month of rain that can fall in about fifteen hours…
A very rare classification
This type of classification remains rare on the part of Météo France, which instituted this vigilance mechanism in 2001, after the storms of 1999.
Last month, the Gard faced a historic phenomenon from the Cevennes in its intensity, bringing the number of times it was triggered for rain floods to 26, including ten due to heavy rainfall. In 2020, it had been issued three times between May and October. But what does this alarm threshold, the fourth and last on the scale used, actually mean? Red vigilance is proclaimed when: “an episode of prolonged and persistent rain requires special vigilance because of its exceptional nature”, Météo-France states in its bulletin.
During this period, “Absolute vigilance is required. Dangerous phenomena of exceptional intensity are foreseen“, Météo-France indicates on its site, also called “to absolutely respect government safety instructions”.
The Meteorological Institute then lists possible impacts, including: “Very large floods are possible in all the hydrological basins of the concerned departments, even in areas that are rarely flooded”. “The traffic situation can be made extremely difficult throughout the network”, indicates Météo-France, citing risks “overflow of sewage networks” and “more or less long power cuts may occur”.
In particular, with each red warning, the Interior Ministry publishes via Twitter a list of instructions to heed: among the recommendations for caution are asked to stay upstairs and not to go into the cellars, as well as not to go under any stipulation, on foot or by car, on a sunken path. In addition to informing citizens, vigilance is also intended for civilian security services and health authorities, who can thus alert and mobilize intervention teams, professionals and health structures respectively.
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