Science

At least 13 dead in southwestern France flooding

At least 13 dead in southwestern France flooding”

At least ten people were killed when the equivalent of six months of rain fell in the Aude region, with waters reaching rooftops overnight.

Local authorities in the Aude department said 11 people were killed, down from a previous toll of 13 dead given by the interior ministry.

A vehicle and debris are pictured after floods in the town of Villegailhenc, southern France, Oct.15, 2018.

The official also said that an anticipated reshuffling of government ministers would not be announced on Monday since the government was focused on the flooding.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe lowered the death toll Monday after visiting the region saying 10 people have died, according to local media outlets.

A nun was swept away by the rapid waters, according to local broadcaster BFMTV, while other reports said a policewoman was hit by a motorist while attending a weather related traffic accident. Schools were shut and residents told to stay at home.

The storm left behind overturned cars, damaged roads and collapsed houses.

Flash floods tore through towns in southwest France, turning streams into raging torrents that authorities said killed several people and seriously injured at least five others.

The levels were still rising and expected to peak at around 9:00 pm (1900 GMT).

As the emergency intensified, villages and towns with up to 2,000 residents were being evacuated.

Helene Segura, who lives in Villegailhenc, described the view from her home: "When I look out the window, I can only see water and mud everywhere".

"Rescue teams were deployed as quickly as possible, but operations have proved to be complicated", said interior ministry spokesman Frederic de Lanouvelle.

The River Aude that flows through towns such as Carcassonne and Trebes was among the waterways that overflowed from the exceptional rainfall, and the flooding was the region's worst in more than a century, the French agency that monitors flood risks said.

The Catholic sister, who has not yet been named, died in Villardonnel, a village close to Carcassone, in Aude, overnight.

Around 1,000 people were evacuated in the area of Pezens, also near Carcassonne, amid fears that a nearby dam could burst.

The storms hit six other departments from Eastern Pyrenees to Aveyron further north.

This well-known weather pattern occurs three to six times a year in the region and almost always triggers flash flooding.

A man rides past a damaged auto in the town of Villegailhenc, southern France.

More rain was forecast for Monday. Leslie has already passed over Portugal and Spain.



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