Floods in France
A balcony in a flooded area after heavy rains in Le Muy, southeastern France.
| Credit: VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

At least nine people have died after heavy rains caused significant flooding on the European coast, including parts of France, Italy and Greece over the weekend.

Newspapers in Greece described the destruction “as leaving a trail of biblical destruction in some areas of the country,” according to The Guardian.

The heavy rains trapped some people in their cars, killing at least four people in France, according to The Associated Press.

Victims were found in cars that were swept off the road by the floods. In some parts of the country, the equivalent of two or three months’ worth of rain fell in just 24 or 48 hours. Officials called the rainfall “historic” and said damage was significant. River levels rose more than 20 feet on some banks.

The rain also resulted in collapsed bridges and highways.

The phenomenon is relatively common in France, although rarely this extreme. They are called cévenols or Mediterraneans.

“It’s not linked to global warming,” French meteorologist told The Guardian. “We had these cévenols before and there hasn’t been an increase since temperatures rose. However, we have noted an increase in the intensity of the rains.”

In Greece, two people died when their sailboat was caught up in the bad weather. Another drowned while she was swimming off the island of Kos. Hundreds of homes west of Athens were flooded during the storm. Rain and mudslides closed portions of highway outside of the Greek capital.

Venice flooding
Credit: AFP via Getty Images

In northern Italy, rescuers are still searching for possible landslide victims after a stretch of elevated highway near the city of Savona collapsed. There weren’t any reports of vehicles affected by the collapse. However, the collapse has raised new investigations into the safety of Italy’s roadways, which has several viaducts that traverse the country’s mountainous region.

The news of flooding this month started in Venice where the city declared a state of emergency as the seasonal "acqua alta" (or high water) resulted in uncharacteristically massive flooding which has threatened the city's historic artwork.