The missing person in the Gard found safe and sound, four departments on orange alert
Severe thunderstorms and record rains hit the Gard on Tuesday. Météo-France continues to call for caution in the sector, with “Strong thunderstorms” still expected this Wednesday, September 15.
“A person is reported missing in the town of Aimargues after a fall in the Rhôny river”, southwest of Nîmes, said the prefecture of Gard Tuesday evening in a press release. According to the Gard gendarmes at BFMTV and at the “Parisien”, this person was found safe and sound on Wednesday after spending more than four hours in the water.
Before this person, two other people had been temporarily missing earlier in the day, in Aigues-Vives and Uchaud, two localities close to the A9 motorway connecting Nîmes to Montpellier. Moon “Has been found”, specified the prefecture at the end of the afternoon, adding that the searches and testimonies on the second wanted person led, “At this stage, to rule out the hypothesis of disappearance”.
So far no casualties except one “Slightly injured” struck by lightning, has not been officially reported in the department.
Gard schools closed on Wednesday
Come to meet the emergency services and the authorities on the spot, Tuesday evening, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced the state of natural disaster and warned about the following events: “We are particularly vigilant in the Hérault and the Gard, where we fear other episodes of this type in the hours and days to come”.
The situation “Will deteriorate again from tonight”, had confirmed the prefecture, announcing that the “Public and private schools will remain closed on Wednesday”.
The Gard went back to orange vigilance for thunderstorms, rain-floods and floods on Wednesday morning: “We expect high rainfall intensities of around 80 to 100 mm in a short time locally for Hérault and Gard, 50 to 80 mm for Ardèche and Drôme”, Météo France notes in its 6 o’clock bulletin.
Wednesday morning at 8 am, four departments remained on orange vigilance for thunderstorms: Hérault, Ardèche, Drôme and Gard.
60 helicopter hoists and 450 safety interventions
The stormy wave which has affected a large part of the south of France since the start of the day has been particularly active in the Gard, where it has affected around sixty municipalities. The department was placed on red vigilance between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., and in particular around Nîmes, where the roof of a shopping center has partially collapsed.
While many roads and bridges were cut, the A9 motorway, a major axis connecting the Rhône valley, the Marseille region and Italy to Spain, was closed for several hours. On this highway, “About 30 people were brought to safety by air and ground means”, said the firefighters, who carried out a total of 60 helicopter hoists and 450 safety interventions. At around 8 p.m., the motorway was reopened in both directions, Vinci said, but not on all lanes, with cleaning operations and work still underway.
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“Another phenomenon is starting in Midi-Pyrénées, where a hundred millimeters in three hours are expected”, warned Marc Pontaud, according to whom precipitation will again affect Languedoc in the second part of the night: “A priori, we exclude a worst case scenario for the moment”, he reassured, however.