Rain and flooding in the Mediterranean

Published on Tuesday 13 August 2019

Crédits : MTES
Every year, the French departments bordering the Mediterranean are exposed to intense rainfall (also known as “Cevennes episodes”) which can lead to flash floods: the equivalent of several months’ worth of rain can fall in a matter of hours. These episodes of Mediterranean rainfall tend to occur from the end of summer, between September and mid-December.

The Ministry for the Ecological and Solidary Transition, along with the Ministry of the Interior, has launched a public awareness campaign about this phenomenon and how people should react if faced with heavy Mediterranean rainfall. The campaign will run from 26th August until 27th October 2019.

The campaign covers 15 Mediterranean departments: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes Maritimes, Ardèche, Aveyron, Aude, Bouches-du-Rhône, Corse-du-Sud, Haute-Corse, Drôme, Gard, Hérault, Lozère, Pyrénées-Orientales, Var, Vaucluse.

The purpose of this campaign is to inform people about life-saving actions. It also represents an opportunity to provide information about the conditions of these Mediterranean episodes, their consequences in terms of precipitation, runoff, and flooding, as well as precautionary measures.

Rain and flooding in the Mediterranean

Rain and flooding in the Mediterranean

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What should you do in the event of heavy Mediterranean rainfall ?

When a flood occurs, certain safety procedures are required. You are advised to stay at home and keep yourself informed via the Vigicrues and Météo-France sites (also available on mobile) or by telephone on 05 67 22 95 00. Do not go out in your car, even to go and collect your children from school: they are safe there. Less than 30cm of water is enough for a car to be swept away.

When a flood occurs, certain safety procedures are required. You are advised to stay at home and keep yourself informed via the Vigicrues and Météo-France sites (also available on mobile) or by telephone on 05 67 22 95 00. Do not go out in your car, even to go and collect your children from school: they are safe there. Less than 30cm of water is enough for a car to be swept away.

Prepare your safety kit

In the event flooding, running water, electricity and telephone networks can be cut off for several days. As such, it is important that you prepare to spend several days living independently. The safety kit should be kept in an easily accessible place so that it can be retrieved as quickly as possible.


Crédits : MTES

In addition to the kit, it is also vital to make a note of useful numbers and to familiarise yourself with the vigilance levels.

These are useful numbers to remember:

  • My town hall (contact details are available on its website)
  • Fire Brigade - 112 or 18
  • Ambulance - 15
  • Police - 17

Météo France provides a vigilance map covering the following meteorological and hydrological phenomena: strong winds, rainfall/flooding, storms, heatwaves, snow/ice, floods and overwash.

There are four vigilance levels:

  • green: no particular vigilance required
  • yellow: be alert. If you are taking part in activities that are risky if there is a change in weather or flooding, phenomena that are common in the region but occasionally and locally dangerous (such as the mistral, summer storms, and rising water levels) are to be expected. Keep up to date with developments.
  • orange: be very vigilant. Dangerous phenomena are expected. Keep abreast of developments in the situation and follow the safety advice issued by public authorities.
  • red: the utmost vigilance is required. Exceptionally intense and dangerous phenomena are expected. Keep abreast of the latest developments and follow the safety instructions issued by public authorities.

In addition, for main waterways, Vigicrues suggests specific vigilance for floods with four levels of flood vigilance:

  • green: no particular vigilance required
  • yellow: flood risk leading to overflows and localised damage or a rapid and dangerous rise in water levels requiring particular vigilance, especially in the case of exposed and/or seasonal activities
  • orange: flood risk leading to significant overflows, likely to have a significant impact on the community and the safety of property and people
  • red: major flood risk. Direct and widespread threat to the safety of property and people

Quiz

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