Southern France: Driver missing after flash floods sweep cars out to sea

At least one person was missing on Thursday after several vehicles were swept out to sea during violent storms and torrential rain that lashed the south of France on Wednesday night.
The local authority chief of the Var department on the south east coast said that several vehicles had been taken by the sea between Saint-Maxime and Roquebrune, where there was 210mm of rainfall over night.
One of the vehicles had a driver inside and had the lights on but searches of the sea have unable to locate either the car or the driver. It is still unclear whether the other vehicles were occupied.
The search had to be called out due to poor visibility and the dirtiness of the sea, but began again on Thursday morning. Around 100 firefighters have been drafted in for the search.
Var prefect Jean-Luc Videlaine feared that the storm had claimed victims but that it was too early to tell how many.
He recommended members of the public avoid driving and stay out of underground garages.
"By trying to save your car you can put yourself in serious danger," he said.


The Var was one of several departments that had been on alert for violent storms on Wednesday. By Thursday the Orange level warning - the second highest - had been switched to a flood warning with river levels rising dangerously high.
In Frejus the local authority was preparing to evacuate two campsites out of precaution as the level of the Argens river continued to rise.

The departments of Alpes-Maritimes and the island of Corsica remained on alert for storms on Thursday.