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Severe weather. End of the red vigilance on the Gard which returns to orange, 30 helicopter hoists on the flooded A9 – France 3 Régions

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At the beginning of the afternoon, the red vigilance was lifted on the Gard. The department returns to orange alert for floods. At midday, the A9 motorway remained cut between Nîmes-Ouest and Gallargues-le-Montueux where 30 motorists were hoisted by helicopter.

At the start of the afternoon, Météo France lifted the red vigilance on the Gard, although the strongest storm cells still concern the east of the department with rainfall intensities of the order of 50 millimeters of rain that fell in one hour. Since the start of precipitation early this morning, cumulative amounts have locally reached 250 to 300 millimeters of water.

Motorists hoisted on the A9

At midday, the black spot remained the A9 motorway, cut in both directions between the Nîmes West and Gallargues-le-Montueux interchanges (Gard). Nicolas Mercatili is one of the motorists stuck on this section. He attended fifteen of the 30 helicopter hoists carried out by the firefighters at Uchaud, where part of the central safety barrier, however concrete, collapsed under the pressure of the water. We reached him by phone. He tells :

I entered the motorway in Nîmes a little after 11 a.m. and the water quickly started to rise, creating pits on the roadway, especially under the Uchaud bridge where cars and trucks came very quickly. found stranded. Under the effect of the pressure, some vehicles were pushed against the central slide which partly collapsed. And where the concrete remained standing, the water accumulated over a height of almost a meter. On the other side of the highway, it was able to flow, but suddenly it was the railway line that runs along the highway that was flooded.

Nicolas Mercatili, motorist stuck on the A9

At 4:15 p.m., Nicolas Mercatili informed us that traffic was slowly resuming. He had seen a dozen tow trucks passing by in the opposite direction.

Nîmes station flooded

Train traffic was also still interrupted between Montpellier and Avignon. SNCF did not plan a restart before 11 p.m. this evening. The railway tracks, but also the central station of Nîmes were flooded.

Roads cut, no more trains until 11 p.m.

In the morning, the heavy rains had also caused the cut-off of several departmental roads, in particular in the Vidourle sector, around Quissac, Calvisson and Corconne, where floods and mudslides were reported. South of Nîmes, the rains swelled the Rhony River by 1.50 meters in a few minutes. In Aigues-Vives, 10 people were hoisted by helicopter.

Vistre flood in progress

The Vistre remained in orange vigilance “flood” in the early afternoon. At Bernis, this watercourse rose from 52 centimeters to 3.60 meters between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and has remained at this low water ever since.

Wind at 105 km / h and hailstones of 4 cm

The highest accumulations of precipitation measured during this Cévennes episode were in Saint-Dionisy, with 276 millimeters fallen at 6 hours, including 244 millimeters in 3 hours. Strong gusts of wind also blew up to 105 km / hour and hailstones of several centimeters were observed. In Caissargues, the roof of an Intermarché store has partially collapsed. 50 people were placed on technical unemployment.

Firefighters victims of bad weather

The firefighters of the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service (SDIS 30) carried out around fifty safety measures in the Gard, sometimes finding themselves confronted with the unleashed elements. In the town of Nages, our journalist Josette Sanna photographed one of their trucks that fell into a ditch.

A Gard firefighters truck fell into a ditch at Nages during the red vigilance of 09/14/2021

© Josette Sanna, France 3 Occitanie

Six other departments of Occitanie still in orange

In Occitania, Météo France also maintains its orange alert until tomorrow for Hérault, Aveyron, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Lot and Haute-Garonne.

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