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Environment

Floods, torrential rainfall hit eastern France

media Flood waters reach the roof of a building in a village near the eastern … YouTube/L'Est Eclair

Floods hit eastern France on Friday, forcing rescue workers to evacuate homes in Burgundy and save three people trapped in their car as a river burst its banks. The downpour was expected to continue Saturday in some areas.

The river Ouche’s waters were the highest they have ever been east of the Burgundy city of Dijon on Saturday morning, officials announced, leading to the evacuation of houses in the area.

Weather forecaster Météo France on Saturday lifted its alert for seven departments, including the Jura, the Doubs, Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin but kept it for the Côte d’Or and the Yonne in Burgundy and the Haute-Marne, the Vosges and Meurthe-et-Moselle further east.

Further south heavy rain has pounded the Rhône-Alpes region since Thursday.

On Friday:

  • The equivalent of a month’s rainfall fell in 12 hours in Saône-et-Loire in Burgundy and rescue workers were called out 210 times;
  • About 100 people were moved out of their houses near Pont-et-Massene lake for fear of flooding;
  • Firefighters saved three people trapped in their car as the river Ouche burst its banks;
  • Two streets in Dijon and some communes near the city were evacuated;
  • The Sevenne river damaged roads when it burst its banks;
  • Ferry services in Lyon were suspended because the Saône river was so high they could not pass under bridges.

The waters are expected to continue to rise in Haute-Marne this weekend, leading to the danger of floods.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls is following the situation in the Côte d’Or “with great attention”, his office announced.

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