The day after the episode of rain and snow that fell on Imphy, in the Nièvre, it is time to assess the damage. The inhabitants are still shocked by the violence of the phenomenon.
It’s a vision that seems unreal at the end of summer: a street covered in snow, giving the impression of a mini-ice… in the heart of the Nièvre. In Imphy, 15 kilometers from Nevers, a very intense storm cell hit the town on Monday September 5 around 6 p.m. Rain, hail, wind: the episode only lasted about fifteen minutes but was enough to devastate several buildings.
The biggest damage is at the municipal swimming pool: part of the roof has completely collapsed. “A strong gust of wind blew the shade tiles, then there was an unprecedented hailstorm“, says the director of the swimming pool, Samir Lassiri. “It was supernatural. We quickly arrived at several tens of centimeters of accumulated hail. As the roof is relatively flat, the weight of the hail broke one of the main beams. She started to sag and within 10 minutes she was down.“
At the start of the storm, swimmers were taking a course. Fortunately, they were able to be evacuated in time. “From the first creaks, the lifeguards evacuated immediately. There are no injuries, that’s the most important thing.“
The swimming pool is completely out of use: a larger part of the structure could collapse. Experts must come to assess the damage, but the city fears a closure for at least several months.
The mayor of the town, Régine Roy, held a crisis unit on Tuesday morning. Like all the other inhabitants, she was seized by the violence of the storm: “We had never seen that. There were carpets of snow in some places. One has the impression that it froze in place; in places there was snow on at least 20 centimeters!“
“Around 6 p.m., there was first a very heavy rain, then this hail and the wind which arrived. In not even 10 minutes, we saw this amalgam of hailstones on the ground, an all white layer… Then we asked ourselves: but what damage will there be?
In addition to the swimming pool, other buildings were affected: the post office, the nursery school, and several businesses which saw their cellars flooded and part of their merchandise lost. Private homes are also affected: blown tiles, power cuts in places, torn fences…”It was the flood. When we see all this, we wonder what happened“, says the mayor.
The fear of a new storm in the hours to come
A shock shared by the inhabitants. “Our lights went out. When we got out, we saw the torrent of water rushing down the street, all the trash cans swept away and a stuck car.“, testifies a local resident. The boss of the Center coffee, whose cellar was flooded, says he has “never seen a storm of such violence“.
This Tuesday, solidarity is organized: the neighboring municipalities of Decize and La Machine have offered their help, as has the Department which has provided a sweeper. “Everything should be completely cleaned up by tonight… Fingers crossed that we’re not impacted yet. We fear the announced weather“, fears the mayor. Nièvre, like all the departments of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, is placed on orange alert for storms until Wednesday 4 p.m.
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