Rain and flooding

Protecting yourself : following best practice recommendations

Vincent Lhermet

Best practice recommendations


I do not go out in my car and I postpone any trips.

Just 30 cm of flowing water can be enough to sweep away a car.


I do not go to pick up my children from school.


I do not go down to the basement but shelter, above ground, high up.


I do not go anywhere in my car or on foot.


I do not go out but take shelter in a building (I especially avoid trees because of the risk of a lightening strike.)


I keep away from streams and rivers, and do not park on banks or bridges.


I stay informed and listen to instructions from authorities in the media and on social networks by following official accounts.


I keep an eye on loved ones, neighbours and vulnerable people.


To stay informed, please visit : 

Preparing for a flood

Emergency kit

The emergency kit must be kept in an easily accessible place, where it won't be swept away by water, and can be retrieved as quickly as possible.

Afficher la version texte de la vidéo

In the event of severe floods, you must be prepared to survive on your own for a few days with a few essential items. The kit, which will help you survive on your own for 3 days, must be kept somewhere easily accessible so you can retrieve it as quickly as possible; it should contain: a radio, torch with spare batteries, candles, lighter or matches, non-perishable food and drinking water, medication, spare glasses, warm clothing, duplicate keys, copy of passport/ID, first aid kit, cash, mobile phone charger, baby clothes and pet food.

The risk of flooding in France

To help reduce vulnerability in flood-prone regions and save lives, the government has gradually introduced special flood prevention strategies.

Afficher la version texte de la vidéo

This video shows some children talking about flooding in the Mediterranean basin and reminding us about best practice recommendations.

Mediterranean rainfall


What is a Mediterranean “episode?”

Mediterranean episodes are linked to rising hot, humid and unstable air coming from the Mediterranean which can cause violent and sometime stationary storms. They usually occur in the autumn which is when the sea is at its warmest, meaning there is maximum evaporation. These episodes of intense rainfall can result in dangerous, flash floods.

Afficher la version texte de la vidéo

Mediterranean episodes can occur from September up until the month of December, throughout the Mediterranean basin. These “episodes” take the form of violent storms and heavy rainfall which can cause flash floods: several months’ worth of rain can fall in the space of just a few hours.


Which area is affected?

The 15 departments that fall within the Mediterranean basin are: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes Maritimes, Ardèche, Aveyron, Aude, Bouches-du-Rhône, Corse-du-Sud, Haute-Corse, Drôme, Gard, Hérault, Lozère, Pyrénées-Orientales, Var and Vaucluse.

Les 15 départements de l'arc méditerranéen : Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Aveyron, Aude, Bouches-du-Rhône, Corse-du-Sud, Haute-Corse, Drôme, Gard, Hérault, Lozère, Pyrénées-Orientales, Var et Vaucluse


Why is the Mediterranean region the most affected?

The Mediterranean basin has a very specific climate. It is located at the intersection of three different climates - oceanic, continental and desert - and is characterized by frequent extreme weather episodes (strong winds, intense rain, drought, heat waves, etc.).

Les épisodes méditerranéens sont le résultat d'une rencontre entre de l'air chaud et humide et de l'air froid d'altitude. Ces épisodes peuvent entrainer des inondations, des ruissellements et des crues ou encore des glissements de terrains.


What are the consequences?

The equivalent of several months’ worth of rain can fall in just a few hours or days. These violent, flash floods can cause extensive damage and casualties, and have a significant environmental and economic impact.

Damien Biard


What are the effects of climate change?

The analysis of extreme rainfall events in the Mediterranean over the last few decades has helped identify the following trends for French regions:

  • increased heavy rainfall in Mediterranean regions between 1961 and 2015.
  • an increase in the frequency of extreme Mediterranean episodes, particularly episodes in which more than 200 mm of rain has fallen within 24 hours.

Afficher la version texte de la vidéo

Climate change could increase the frequency and danger of these Mediterranean episodes. Since 1960, the intensity of the most extreme rainfall events has increased by 20%.


A special task force

Since 2017, an interregional task force, charged with coordinating flood prevention within the Mediterranean basin, has been working to improve the performance of flood prevention initiatives and ensure these initiatives are implemented consistently throughout the Mediterranean basin. 

2 nuages de mots résumant la MIIAM : sensibilisation, inondation, crue, culture du risque, pluies, compétence, mutualisation, etc.

Remembering floods

Whether it is a line or inscription engraved in stone, a metal plaque or a sealed medallion, flood markers are a way of recording a past flood, helping to raise awareness about floods and construct, maintain and pass on collective memories.

A poor understanding of flooding often results in past events being forgotten and the tendency to minimize flooding risks or, conversely, exaggerating the impact of an ancient flood, which left terrible memories, because there is no available data, information or reference to put it into perspective.

Flood markers also provide information that is very useful for river flood modelling and mapping flooded rights-of-way.


The national collaborative platform for flood markers records markers in France. Anyone who has witnessed a flood can contribute to this site by completing a form and providing the necessary information.

Laurent Mignaux / Terra


The Database of Historic Flood Events (BDHI) catalogues and describes various floods that have occurred within France in previous centuries up to the present day.

Laurent Mignaux / Terra


The site, which documents 150 years of floods in images, and the accompanying book, takes you on a time-space journey through the Mediterranean basin, learning about major floods that have impacted the region.

On the right, is a photograph of the centre of Nîmes in 1963.

Hervé Collignon - Archives communales de Nîmes


Arnaud Bouissou / Terra

Do you want to test your knowledge?

Sauveur Merlenghi
1 | 5

Test your knowledge

My children are at school when the department issues a red weather warning. I hurry to school to collect them.

Vincent Lhermet
2 | 5

Test your knowledge

In the event of a red or orange weather warning in the department, I can find information on the Météo-France and Vigicrues websites.

Anne BOURSIAC (Syble)
3 | 5

Test your knowledge

The stream/river near my house bursts its banks: I get into my car to escape from the area.

Anthony Kantok
4 | 5

Test your knowledge

My emergency kit is stored in my cellar as I never use it.

Vincent Lhermet
5 | 5

Test your knowledge

In the event of a flood, I go to visit the most vulnerable to check that they are safe.

Damien Biard

Communication kit

Each year, the Ministry of Ecological Transition, in conjunction with the Ministry of the Interior, introduces a prevention and awareness-raising campaign to address the risk of heavy rainfall and flooding within the Mediterranean basin. Every year, this region is exposed to very specific weather conditions bringing heavy rain, mainly at the start of autumn, which can result in violent, flash floods..

The goal is to raise awareness about protective behaviour. 

To support operators in the field, the Minister for Ecological Transition is providing everyone with a communication kit.

Print communication

.zip | 36.51 MB

Digital communication

.zip | 25.76 MB

English communication kit

.zip | 37.29 MB

Press kit

.pdf | 4.22 MB