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Hi

Just to report that our village has had 125 mm of rain in about 24 hrs.

It is not enormous, the forecast was up to 400mm, and it is very localised.

The worry is that the rainfall in the mountains will flow down the rivers today.

Already Montpellier, Nimes and Lunel have been flooded from rain run off.

The River Vidourle in Sommieres was rising fast last night when I left.

An old pic :

Peter

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It has to balance - we have had two years of very little rain - not much really since the Lot flooded and so did our sous-sol. This winter we realise that it may balance itself out - with the result that we have cleared the area which will need pumping out - the alternative for us is a dry winter and an even worse drought situation next year - one way or the other it never seems to be a 'happy balance' but then nature never is.

The weather forecast says rain - for the next few days, but once again the sun is shining and as the ground is so dry the rain we have had just runs off - hence the highter than normal flood risk.
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I love that picture, Peter.   But for anyone who hasn't been there, it's not obvious just how high the water is.   Gwan gwan gwan, give us a pic of the bridge as it normally is.   Just for us? 

Beats me how anyone could even think of driving over it in those conditions. 

Beats me why they were allowed to! 

 

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Hi

Ok, just for SB, here is a normal view looking back at the bridge :

The cars weren't driving over the bridge. They were parked there thinking it was high enough to be safe. It wasn't. 400 cars were written off in Sommieres in the 2002 floods.

Today, the water receded, but most shops were closed because the stock has been moved to high ground. And it is staying there because more rain is expected tonight, although it hasn't arrived yet.

Peter

 

 

 

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Chucked it down here from about 3 am and stopped about 7,loads of silt etc has been washed down the village but everything is drying out again as the sun has come out. Watched the meteo earlier and we arn`t even in the orange zone (were in the red a few years ago and that was NOT nice)

Mrs O

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Mpprh - absolutely incredible photo.  Is your area considered a flood zone in general?  Or is this a strange phenomenon that occurs rarely?

Over here, round Carpentras, the rain has been coming down more or less steady over the last few days, but I have not seen any evidence of flooding - at least not around Bedoin/Mazan/Carpentras. 

 

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[quote]Mpprh - absolutely incredible photo. Is your area considered a flood zone in general? Or is this a strange phenomenon that occurs rarely? Over here, round Carpentras, the rain has been coming down...[/quote]

Hi

This time of year always has heavy rain in the mountains behind us. The warm air off the Med meets the cold air in the Cevennes leading to violent storms. Exactly where the storms are centred decides which valley takes the run off.

This year, some of the storms were centred over the low lying plain resulting in flooding from rain run off in the Montpellier, Lunel, Nimes area.

Sommieres is a bit of a special case. Speculative building in 1050 AD is to blame !

Tiberius built the bridge in 0 AD (or BC). It was a wet period, so the bridge had 17 arches.

In 1050, it was a dry period, and a town was built on the river bed next to the tiny stream. Buildings were built on top of the redundant bridge arches, leaving todays 7 arches.

During the middle ages the weather became wetter, and the floor level was raised 3m to try and escape flooding (hence the short, fat arches in the market place).

So now, if there is heavy rain in the Vidourle valley, Sommieres is likely to flood because the river narrows at this point. 

You can clearly see the path of the original bridge in this photo : http://perso.wanadoo.fr/vincent.besancon/grphotoaerien/sommieres.jpg  The original roman arches form the caves of these shops :  http://www.terroirdeurope.com/sommiere.gif which are built on top of the old bridge.

The short, fat arches after a flood in 2003 (you can just see the water line under the pub blind) :

It has been raining steadily all morning. And the rolls of thunder are getting closer !

Peter

 

 

 

 

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Hi

another update.

Dry, slightly cloudy this morning.

Yesterday (Thursday) had consistent heavy rain. We've now had 190mm since Tuesday morning. The Vidourle rose slightly with the local rainfall, but as there had not been high rainfall in the Cevennes, it is no problem.

Again it was much worse to the East and on the plain. Nimes & Lunel were flooded again. The A9 motorway was closed Orange - Narbonne and also the A54 Nimes - Marseille. Trains have been disrupted. Thursday night saw 12,000 (inc 5000 school kids) sleep in emergency accommodation in Montpellier / Lunel / Nimes.

I've just had the emergency phone service message from Sommieres to say that the town water has become polluted, and stations are being set up to distribute bottled water.

Peter

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[quote]I thought you might say that. It is amazing that people continue to stay in these low lying areas. Seems like such a risk.[/quote]

Lori,

around 50% of the European population live on flood plains*.  Man's arrogance suggests he can control nature with dams. dykes and the like.  Occasionally he is proven wrong.

 

They (the 50%) cannot all however move to the hilltops and furthermore, the infrastructure (roads, railways and canals) also follow the river routes.

 

* The whole of the western part of Benelux (Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Antwerp), London, Paris, The Rhone valley, The Po from Milan to the coast, most of the Danube valley and tributaries including Prague and Budapest  etc.

 

 

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Well I do hope it is just a light bit of rain and not a deluge.  We have had nice rain nearly every day for a week now.  The yard is green again and the plants look SO happy.  Luckily for us, we are not in a flood zone, so this has been good.

I hope the water levels over there continue to lower and as quickly as possible ..

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