This week has been très humide in southern France, where half a year’s worth of rain fell in one day in Montpellier.
Slow moving storms brought heavy rainfall to the region on Monday. Between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, approximately 10 inches of rain fell. By 8 p.m., the total was 11.63 inches, and half of the city’s typical annual rainfall.
Monday’s storms prompted a red warning from Meteo France, meaning that they were expecting hazardous weather of exceptional intensity. Red is the highest level of warning on the meteorology service’s scale.
French media are reporting that no deaths had occurred, but around 4,000 people were displaced from their homes and residing at the train station, colleges, gymnasiums, and even Le Zenith, which is a concert hall in the area.
All of that rainfall caused the River Lez, which runs through the heart of Montpellier, to swell beyond its banks and inundate the city.
Christopher C. Burt writes about the record-breaking rainfall on Weather Underground:
The two-hour total would be a new French national record for rainfall intensity, surpassing the 180 mm (7.09”) measured at Saint-Gervais-sur-Mare just 13 days ago on September 16th! Prior to this month’s extreme rainfalls, the previous greatest two-hour rainfall total observed in France was 178.4 mm (7.02”) at Solenzara on October 26, 1979. However, it should be noted that records in France for short-duration rainfalls only go back to the 1960s or 1970s and do not include every meteorological site in the country. Nevertheless, it is pretty shocking that two such amazing rain events have occurred in the same region over just a two-week period.