Flash floods tear through southwestern France

Flood waters rose to the first floor of some homes

Flood waters rose to the first floor of some homes

Floodwaters were in some cases too powerful for the emergency services to get through, even on boats, he said.

"We have people stranded on rooftops".

The Interior Ministry initially put the number of deaths at 13 before revising the toll downwards.

Rescue workers evacuate residents from a neighborhood after flash floods hit the southwestern Aude district of France after several months' worth of rain fell in just a few hours overnight, in Trebes, France, October 15, 2018.

He told BFMTV that the floods in the Aude region also killed four other people in other locations, left one person missing and seriously injured five others. We're going to have to use aircraft to evacuate them because we can not reach them by boat gave the force of the water.

Television pictures showed raging, muddy rivers that had uprooted trees, knocked over concrete electricity towers and swept away cars. It's much too risky'. Some 350 firefighters were involved in rescue operations, a number which will double as more are drafted in to deal with the aftermath.

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"It was raining, raining, raining and my wife says to me, 'We can hear water, switch on the light.' So I switch on the light and nothing, it's pitch black".

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that France's national weather agency, Meteo France, issued a red warning for the Aude River, predicting more flooding and urging people in the area to practice "absolute vigilance". The Aude region is a popular tourist destination with ancient towns and villages in its hilly peaks stretching down to the Mediterranean.

Water levels were expected to continue to rise in the area on Monday, with rain forecast until late in the morning.

In the village of Villegailhenc, the river Trapel swelled to such an extent that it swept away at least one road bridge.

Several residents told local media that the situation sharply deteriorated around 3 a.m., forcing people to scramble to higher ground as they sought safety.

However, meteorologists have said exceptionally warm sea water along the Mediterranean coast may be intensifying the rains.

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