Storms batter France and Italy

Thundery downpours bring floods and mudslides to central Europe.

The weather was rough enough for a ship to run aground on a beach in the French Riviera city of Cannes [AFP]

Days of heavy rain have left parts of southern France and northern Italy underwater as thunderstorms moved across the French Riviera and over the Alps.

Montelimar recorded 99mm of rain on Tuesday and 160mm fell in Nice. Indeed, Nice airport was closed for two hours because of the floods and a mudslide cut off access to the city’s beaches.

The storms left 6,500 homes without power and 16 regions stretching from the Mediterranean to the Rhone Valley were placed on “orange alert”, which is the second highest level of weather warning.

There has been one fatality. A young woman died in the French Alps when a mudslide hit the village of Saint-Blaise.

Throughout the region, many roads were forced to close due to the floods, and some train services had to be cancelled for a time.

Some areas over the higher ground reported as much as 344mm of rain in 36 hours as the heavy moved over the border into Switzerland. Guetsch had 118mm of rain and the rain was even worse in Locarno which has notched up 249mm in the last two days.

The worst of the weather is now coursing through northern Italy. Thousands of people have been forced out of their homes in the Tuscan region of Carrara after the River Carrione burst its banks.

Further heavy rain is expected across the French and Italian Riviera early next week.

Source: Al Jazeera