2020 Gloria, Ajaccio, the Cévennes and Alex

While 2020 will be remembered by the whole of humanity for the global Covid-19 epidemic, it is also rooted in the memories of many people in the Mediterranean Arc due to four successive weather events that marked this extraordinary year. In January, Storm Gloria...

2019, from Perpignan to Nice

1900, 1907, 2011, 2014, etc Autumn 2019 once again heralded a series of “Mediterranean episodes” throughout the Mediterranean Arc region.It began with Marseille, the Aude, the Pyrénées Orientales and especially Hérault which were all in the firing line on 23...

October 2018, the Aude strikes again

On 15 October, almost 20 years after the disaster of 1999, the Department of the Aude once again experienced major flooding. At Villalier, the RD 620 road was cut off by the Orbiel when it flooded. Sadly, a truck driver lost his life.Photo: Sébastien Gominet/IRMA*. 14...

2016, Corsica

Corsica is a well-known and popular holiday destination but is no stranger to the risk of torrential floods. The island’s sharp, steep relief combined with heavy rainfall so typical of the Mediterranean climate, lends itself to impressive flash floods that rush down...

October 2015, deluge on the Côte d’Azur

Following 2 days of heavy rain, a powerful, but very localised thunderstorm struck the area of Cannes on 3 October, cascading down in a highly built-up area. The surface runoff that followed was hugely destructive, killing 20 people. Small coastal rivers, such as the...

2014, a repeat of 1907, or 2011?

2014 was particularly trying for South East France. In January, the Var was again affected by severe flooding, as had been the case in 2010 and 2011. A house engulfed by floodwaters from the Real Collobrier, at Collobrières (83) on 19 January.Photo: Collobrières Town...

2011, a second wave in the Var and elsewhere

Similarly to 1907, The French part of the Mediterranean Arc experienced a series of acute rainy periods that spread throughout the area. Beginning on 12 to 15 March, the rain fell especially on the Aude, Tarn and Hérault.On 1 to 5 June, it was the turn of PACA and in...

June 2010, major new flooding in the Var

Having already experienced heavy rains in 2009, in Sainte Maximime and Cogolin on 18 September and 22 October respectively, theDepartment of the Var was hit by major flooding in 2010 which threw plans for the forthcoming tourist season into turmoil. Serious damage to...

September 2002, record-breaking floods in the Gard

In late afternoon on Sunday 8 September 2002, torrential rain began falling on the Gard Department as well as parts of neighbouring Vaucluse and Ardèche. It was the start of a major “Mediterranean episode”By evening, all the rivers in the area (Gardon, Cèze, Vidourle,...

November 1999, the Aude

Rainfall on 12 and 13 November 1999 was exceptional not only in terms of its extent but also by its length and intensity. It spread to the Tarn, Pyrénées Orientales, Hérault and especially the Aude, where cumulative rainfall in 24 hours reached colossal proportions...

November 1994, the Var River

In autumn 1994, torrential rain swept across South West France. Starting in the Cévennes and Languedoc, it reached the Alpes de Haute Provence and Alpes Maritimes by 5 November.All rivers in these areas, such as the Asse, Verdon, Durance, Esteron, Loup, Siagne, Roya...

September 1992, Vaison la Romaine

Four years after the spectacular images of flooding in Nîmes, France awoke dumbfounded by pictures of the Ouvèze unleashed on Vaison la Romaine (84) and its floodwaters submerging the town’s Roman bridge.In just a few hours, the storm dumped 300 mm of rain on the...

October 1988, Nîmes again

The underground rivers, or Cadereaux, of Nîmes had been quiet since 1963 but reawakened with astounding ferocity on the morning of 3 October 1988. An extremely heavy thunderstorm unleashed some 400 mm of rainfall in just a few hours on the Plateau des...

November 1963, the Ardèche and the Gard

Novembre 1963, l’Ardèche et le Gard In 1963, two major weather events hit the Departments of the Ardèche, Gard and Hérault. Firstly, on 3 August, a severe thunderstorm caused the Doux River to breach its banks at Lamastre (07), washing away the Retourtour bridge. In...

September and October 1958, the Gard

Two new major floods caused the biggest loss of life in the 20th century in France, since the Tarn disaster of 1930. The fiercest of these floods happened on 29 September and was triggered by heavy downpours in the Cévennes (429 mm in 48 hours at St Jean du Gard).35...

June 1957, the Guil in the Queyras

The French Alps are prone to what is referred to as the “Retours d’est”, or easterly rain-laden weather fronts that spill over from the Italian side of the Alpine chain and, subject to temperature, can bring snow or rain. In June 1957, downpours peaking on 13 June...

1940 the Aiguat* in Catalonia

10 years after the floods in South-West France, Catalonia was next to experience a major event. It occurred between 16 to 20 October 1940,in political circumstances that hid it from national news coverage. On the French side, the Tech, Têt and Agly river valleys were...

March 1930, the Tarn and the Agout

The entire South West of France was hit by unremitting rain combined with snowmelt in late winter, which led to one of France’s deadliest floods of the 20th century. The flood was especially lethal in the Tarn river valley, particularly downstream from the confluence...

1907, repeat flooding

In 1907, the entire French part of the Mediterranean Arc experienced a series of powerful, devastating floods in 1907. Five major floods hit various areas killing at least 25 people. The Departments of the Gard and Hérault were the first to be flooded from 2 to 28...

September 1900, the Cévennes

While 1900 is mainly remembered for extreme Cévenol episodes that hit the Gard and Lozère, floods extended virtually throughout the Mediterranean Arc (Vaucluse, Aveyron, Hérault, Durance Valley, etc.) and as far as Spain and Italy.The rains triggered a major flood of...

September 1890, the Ardèche pushed to the limit

The flooding that hit the Ardèche river catchment* on 23 September 1890 still strikes a chord as the rive’s record flood. Gorged with continuous rainfall that began in the evening of 19 September, it reached a peak on the 22. After a brief lull, the rain returned in...