Storm Stephanie bears more bad news

100 millimetres of rain expected from Storm Stephanie in disaster-hit Var region

Storm Stephanie hits the Côte d’Azur after 42 communes were already in a state of natural disaster in January. Source: Météo France

The Var is on high flood alert once again as a storm hits the south of the region. Several rivers are expected to overflow following up to 100 millimetres of rainfall since last night.

Three rivers in the Var, the Gapeau, the Argens and the Nartuby are at high risk of overflowing. The Gapeau has already flooded surrounding roads, interrupting traffic between Hyeres and Pierrefeu as well as between La Garde and La Crau.

French weather service Météo France put the Var on orange alert and the Alpes Maritimes on yellow alert for heavy rain and flooding. 50 millimetres of rain fell during the night, and as much as 100 could have fallen by the time the weather clears, which is expected to happen this afternoon.

In the meantime, the Var prefecture advises all residents to stay off the roads as much as possible and to be especially vigilant around rivers, saying it’s a matter of life or death.

The situation in the Var is going from bad to worse. In January alone, the damage resulting from deadly floods was estimated at 200 million euros. Now, a new storm coming from the Atlantic, called ‘Storm Stephanie’, is causing further damage to the disaster-hit area.

As if the floods weren’t bad enough, the rain of the past weeks has caused many roads to be blocked by avalanches, landslides, falling boulders or to collapse altogether. A family was evacuated from their house in Cagnes on Saturday afternoon as a landslide caused cracks in the house’s foundations, Nice Matinreports. Entire housing blocks had to be evacuated in January in Saint Agnès and Menton due to weather-related security risks.

Some are calling it the most ‘unusual’ winter in 60 years. With temperatures up to 2.6 degrees above average in some cities, and Nice breaking its all-time rain record in January, Météo Franceclimatologist told Nice Matin the Côte d’Azur region as a whole has not seen a winter this rainy since 1942.

Also published on the Riviera Times Online