PARIS (Reuters) - Heavy rains and flooding in southern France over the weekend forced the evacuation of about six hundred people, and three people died in weather-related deaths as a dozen local regions remained on alert on Sunday.
Rivers overran their banks, flooding streets and homes and leaving hundreds stranded. Television images showed cars floating along roads and residents mopping up their sodden, muddy homes.
A retired couple, both aged 71, in the southeastern coastal town of Bagnols en Foret died late Saturday night or Sunday morning from carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to bail out rising water in their cellar, police said.
On Saturday, police told Reuters they found the body of a 51-year-old homeless man who had been washed away from his campsite in the Herault southern region.
Some 600 people have already been evacuated along the coast and in the Alps in the south east of the country, authorities said. Firefighters helped rescue around 1,200 people affected by the storms, using helicopters to save about 30 people.
An orange alert — the second-highest weather alert after red — remained in place in 12 southern regions on Sunday, down from about 16 on Saturday.
The regions affected are the low-lying areas near the Pyrenees in the south west, where it continued to rain on Sunday, and in the flooded Alps region.
In the past two days, the level of the Var river in the southeast rose from 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) to 5 meters, said Europe 1 radio.
Elsewhere in Europe, at least seven people were killed in Genoa on Friday as torrential flooding hit the city following days of heavy storms which killed at least 10 people in northern and central Italian regions.
Reporting By Jean-Francois Rosnoblet and Alexandria Sage; Editing by Sophie Hares