Heavy rain and thunder and lightening brought parts of Rouen in Upper Normandy to a standstill and weather forecasters are warning it is likely to continue most of today (Wednesday 07 August). Traffic jams built up as vehicles got stuck in floods, businesses and homes have been flooded and part of a hospital was even forced to shut due to the flash floods. Roads to the south of the city were particularly badly affected and Sud III was shut after a broken down car blocked the road due to the flooding. The vehicle was eventually removed at lunchtime. The Saint-Herbland tunnel was also flooded and closed. During the morning firemen were called out to 150 flooding incidents with Grand-Quevilly, Petit-Couronne, Maromme, DÃ©ville-lÃ¨s-Rouen and Canteleu the worst affected. A fire brigade spokesman said that none of the incidents were serious, mostly flooding in basements and garages and no one has been reported injured. The dental centre at the hospital at Petit-Quevilly had to shut after water flooded in. Ordinary appointments were cancelled and urgent patients were transferred to other dentists. A spokesman for Meteo France said that heavy rain, thunder and lightening are expected to last all day and into the evening. Winds of up to 70 kilometres an hour was adding to the difficulties. However, the extent of the bad weather took many by surprise as the region was not put on vigilance even although many other parts of France was put on orange alert. The Seine-Maritime prefecture asked drivers to take care on the bigger roads and said that between 40 and 50 centimetres of rain fell in a few hours in some places. Bus routes were also affected and the public garden in Rouen was temporarily closed. Businesses affected included the Ferrero warehouse in Grand-Quevilly. Staff were evacuated and it took firemen several hours to pump out the water which reached a meter high. Some locations affected by flash floods at the end of July still havenâ€™t got telephone or internet connections. The rain flooded a telephone cable exchange and work to replace the cable is still not completed. The weather has also been blamed for a major rock fall from the cliffs Criel-sur-Mer, north of Dieppe. It is estimated that around 1,500 square meters of rock fell onto the beach at Mesnil Val. A spokesman for the Mayorâ€™s office said that it was lucky that no one was underneath. â€˜The cold, wet spring, followed by the hot weather and now more rain and wind has made parts of the cliff face unstable,â€™ the spokesman added. Rock falls are a regular occurrence along the coast of this part of Normandy and walkers are urged to take care.
Rouen Hit by Flash Floods
Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.