The army has been deployed in France and rescue teams are hunting for survivors in Italy after torrential rain and winds from Storm Alex left two dead and 20 missing.
Breil-sur-Roya, a French village close to the Italian border, was a scene of devastation with houses buried in mud and turned-over cars stuck in the riverbed.
In northwestern Italy the ‘historic’ flooding destroyed a section of a bridge over the Sesia river.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex has deployed the army as 20 people on his side of the border remain unaccounted for after the flash floods washed away houses and triggered landslides.
A pile of vehicles on a street in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France, on Sunday after extensive flooding caused widespread damage in the Alpes-Maritimes departement
A partially submerged hatchback in mud and debris in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France on Sunday
People arrive at Nice airport after being rescued by the ‘Armee de Terre’ from floods in the south of France on Sunday
A worker digs out a vehicle from mud on a street in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France, on October 4, 2020, after extensive flooding caused widespread damage in the Alpes-Maritimes departement
People walk across washed-up tree branches after Storm Alex swept through Europe, causing damage to many areas in France and Italy
Residents clean a shop following a mudslide on October 4, 2020 in Garessio, Piedmont, after storms lashed the region. Two people died after storms lashed southern France and northern Italy, with roads and bridges damaged or destroyed and thousands left without power
A man walks past a pile of vehicles on a street in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France
An army helicopter carried residents from Saint-Martin-de-Vesubie from the affected areas on Sunday after the extensive flooding
‘There are very many people of whom we have no news,’ Castex said.
On the Italian side of the border several villages were also still cut off, and many roads blocked.
A 53-year-old firefighter died during a rescue mission in the Aosta Valley, and a 36-year-old man died after his car was swept away by a river in Piedmont.
French rescue efforts were concentrated on the Roya valley where around 1,000 firefighters backed up by helicopters and army units resumed their search hoping to find survivors, and giving assistance to people whose homes were destroyed or inaccessible.
A gendarme stands near a vehicle partially submerged in mud in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France
Tourists have a drink while sitting at the table of flooded street cafe in Riva dell’Erbaria in Rialto, while the waters of the canal rise, in Venice, Italy
This general view shows a partially submerged vehicle in mud in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France
People stand near a car partially submerged in mud in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France, on October 4, 2020 villages and triggering landslips. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
A worker looks at a mud covered street in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France, on October 4
Storm Alex barrelled into France’s west coast on Thursday bringing powerful winds and rain across the country before moving into Italy, where regions across the north suffered an onslaught on Saturday.
‘What we are going through is extraordinary,’ the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes region said Bernard Gonzalez.
‘We are used to seeing images of such disasters on other continents, sometimes with a lack of concern, but this here is something that affects us all,’ he said.
France has declared the region a natural disaster zone.
A gendarme stands amongst debris including vehicles in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France
Residents look at a mud covered street in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France, on October 4
A resident looks at a mud covered street in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France
Local authorities gave shelter to some 200 people overnight, while food and thousands of bottles of water were being airlifted into remote villages cut off by the storms.
Gonzalez called on the families of the missing people not to give up hope.
‘Just because their loved ones haven’t been able to get in touch doesn’t mean that they have been taken by the storm,’ he said.
Residents clear a street following a mudslide on October 4, 2020 in Garessio, Piedmont, after storms lashed the region
Residents clean a street following a mudslide on October 4, 2020 in Garessio, Piedmont
A soldier carries packs of bottled water for residents in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France
A police officer walks amongst vehicules submerged in mud in Breil-sur-Roya, south-eastern France
The shore area of Locarno is under water after the water level of Lake Maggiore rose to 195.47 meters due to the heavy rainfalls of the last few days, in Locarno, Switzerland
Many landline and some mobile phone services were disrupted, with some villages using satellite phones to communicate with rescue services.
Despite forecasts of more rain, rescue efforts were to continue throughout Sunday, Gonzalez said.
‘The helicopter procession will continue all day long,’ he said, adding however that the prospect of more heavy weather was ‘a worry’.
Nearly FOUR INCHES of rain leaves parts of UK underwater with torrential downpours flooding roads, businesses and homes as forecasters warn of MORE wet weather to come by mid week
Parts of Britain were left underwater this weekend after a month’s worth of rain fell in just one day leaving homes, roads and businesses destroyed.
Marking the bitter end to a sweltering summer, parts of the UK were drenched by 3.5 inches of rain which fell in 24 hours as Storm Alex wreaked havoc for a third day.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as while Machrihanish in Scotland saw today’s lowest temperature of 0.9C, parts of Sussex bathed in a balmy 16.6C.
The wet weather is unlikely to ease off into next week as ‘persistent rain’ is set to hit in the southwest of England on Monday.
The rest of the week will bring ‘longer spells of rain’ across the country – most frequently in the north and west – with heavy showers in parts on Thursday.
Firefighters and water utilities workers are seen at a flooded area in Hemel Hempstead following last night’s heavy rain
A resident clears out water from her flooded house on Sunday. The flooding was due to last night’s heavy rain in Hemel Hempstead
A resident in Rothbury in Northumberland bails water from their vehicle after the River Coquet burst its banks
On Millennium Bridge in London, people walked under umbrellas during the huge torrent as the UK experiencedhuge downpours
South Wales, Bristol and Gloucestershire all fall into the Met Office’s amber weather warning, meaning the downpour could cause fast flowing or deep floodwater putting lives at risk. Right: A UK rainfall map
Earlier today, South Wales, Bristol and Gloucestershire fell into the Met Office’s amber weather warning, meaning the downpour would cause fast flowing or deep floodwater putting lives at risk.
The warning level – last issued before the pandemic – also meant Britain could see mass transport chaos with dangerous driving conditions, road closures and delays and cancellations to public transport all expected.
These warnings were in place until midday. There is now a yellow weather covering Northern Ireland only.
The poor weather was no doubt a disappointment for the 45,000 people hoping to run or walk the 40th London Marathon along their own 26.2-mile route after the usual mass event was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Only elite athletes were allowed to brave the pouring rain to compete in the central-London race today due to social-distancing restrictions.
The Met Office said in the 42 hours running up to 6pm on Saturday, there had been 4.6 inches of rain at Blackpitts Gate in Somerset, and four inches at Princes Marsh in Hampshire.
Flooding has hit train services in London and Scotland, with services between St Pancras and Finsbury Park being cut as journey times are taking longer due to flooding on the track.
The adverse weather conditions mark the third day of chaos brought to Britain by Storm Alex.
A family of four had to be rescued by firefighters from a road in Billericay, Essex, yesterday after their car became trapped in floodwater, while police issued warnings to drivers after a number of crashes on waterlogged roads.
ScotRail said following yesterday’s bad weather, affected areas will need to be checked first thing this morning to make sure routes are safe for services to run, resulting in some lines being closed.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said that road conditions would be ‘miserable if not downright dangerous’ for drivers this weekend. He added that drivers need to be prepared for ‘an ugly mix’ of surface spray, gusty winds and more than likely some disruption on the roads.
A woman was rescued by her husband after driving into four-foot-deep water in Essex this morning while train lines have becomes submerged as Britain is battered by heavy downpours and 90mph gales from Storm Alex.
Water utilities workers talk with residents from flooded houses in Hemel Hempstead. Last night’s downpours caused chaos for several households
Emergency services rescue drivers whose vehicles are stuck flood water in Kirkliston, West Lothian, after heavy rain on Sunday
The water was so deep in Kirkliston, West Lothian, that car tyres were entirely submerged. Emergency services had to rescue trapped cars
A driver of a car stuck in deep flood water speaks to emergency rescue officials as they tried to get him out. Britain has been battered by torrential rain
Flash flooding wreaked havoc in Hemel Hempstead. Sand bags were put out in a bid to stop water damaging houses and cars
A desperate resident tries to clear out the influx of water from her home in Hemel Hempstead following flash flooding last night
The poor weather will no doubt be a disappointment for the 45,000 people hoping to run or walk the 40th London Marathon along their own 26.2-mile route after the usual mass event was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. But it did not deter these runners in Southsea