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Freak Flash Floods Kill 15 in Southeastern France

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posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 12:12 PM

NICE, France (June 16) -- Fifteen people were killed after freak flash floods hit the Var region in southeastern France overnight, officials said today.

NICE, France (June 16) -- Fifteen people were killed after freak flash floods hit the Var region in southeastern France overnight, officials said today.

Thousands remained without electricity as the area braced for another storm forecast for tonight.

Rivers swollen by heavy rains flooded over and swept people to their deaths. Others perched atop cars and climbed on rooftops to escape the torrential downpour.

This morning, cars could be seen sticking up in the air and stacked on top of each other like props in a disaster movie. Some shops and homes in towns such as Les Arcs sur Argens lay in ruins.

More than 1,500 police, firefighters and other rescue workers were dispatched to the area, and 11 helicopters were used in the rescue effort.

The rain caused local rivers to rise more than seven feet in minutes, trapping hundreds inside their cars. Seven inches of rain fell in less than 12 hours, officials said. The rescue effort went on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.

"It hit us by surprise," Vincent Barastier, a spokesman for the Var Prefecture, told AOL News today. "This kind of terrible storm is very rare here."

More than 1,000 people were forced to leave their homes Tuesday night, and 175,000 were initially without power. Twelve people were reported missing but had been located by Wednesday night, Barastier said.

Schools in the area were closed Wednesday, and thousands still had no electricity this afternoon, Barastier said. Images of Var residents working to clear away mud and debris from their homes and the streets filled French television today.

The town of Draguignan in the Var, a region that lies between Marseilles and Nice, was the hardest hit. The resort of St. Tropez, which is also located in the Var, sustained much less damage in the storm, Barastier said.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have leased a large chateau in the Var, but there were no reports of damage near their home.

President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a statement saying that his "first thoughts go out to the victims" and said the country felt a "solidarity with the inhabitants of the Var region, who have had to go through this very difficult natural disaster."

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posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 12:25 PM
Oh wow. I am sorry for the families. It makes me think of the flash flood that happened here in the states this past week. It was in the middle of the night and happened at a camp ground. Both incidents are very sad.

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 12:30 PM
reply to post by boo1981

Freak Flash Flood???
Riiight this is the third flash flood that I've heard of in the past 2 weeks.

Fool me once shame on you.
Fool me twice shame on me.

Everyone be wary of the weather this summer. Please remain safe and know what to do when one of these nat. disasters happens.

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 01:48 PM
It is sad, flash floods happen so fast its finished before its started!

Ive see some freak heavy rain shower this year. And i panic because our garden floods!!

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