Stormy conditions in France

  • Severe flooding in southern England (Source: PA)

    Map of the affected region of France (Source: Google)

    Radar Image of the southern French storms (Source: MeteoGroup)

  • Stormy conditions in France
    30.01.2014 17:12

    For many parts of the southern England this January has been the wettest since records began, just over a century ago in 1910. A large area from East Devon to Kent and inland across parts of the Midlands has already seen up to 222 mm of rain so far this month which is already twice the average monthly rainfall total. However, it has not just been the southern parts of the UK, which have been recently experiencing unusually heavy rain, flooding in the French Riviera has left two people dead and thousands without electricity. So far nearly 200 people have been airlifted from the worst-hit areas.

    The flooding in the French Rivera was a result of a number of storm systems that moved over the region during the weekend of the 18th and 19th of January. The origin of these storms was a large low pressure system which stretched from the UK all the way to North Africa. This quasi-stationary disturbance led to a sustained southerly air flow, causing hot and humid air to be transported into southern France and especially to the department of Var. Thus, over a period of 48 hours, persistent and heavy rain fell over an area of the country, in which the ground was already saturated with water.

    The heaviest rain fell during Sunday night when a very intense and stationary storm system developed over the area between Entrecastaux and La Londe-les-Maures. During this period an average rainfall total of between 80-120 mm was recorded. However, locally total reached more than 200 mm. At Collobrières, 108 mm of rain fell in 6 hours, this intensity of rainfall is on average only recorded every 20 years or so in this region. At its most intense the storm system was producing between 30 and 55 mm of rain per hour. This is quite remarkable, particularly considering the time of year, when storms do not tend to be as intense as summer storms. Over the next few day further outbreaks of rain are forecast for the region, however these outbreaks will not be near the intensity of the storms of the 18th and 19th of January.

    By: Chris Hogan