Storms are affecting much the south-east of France today. Meteo France have orange alerts for the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes for storms, heavy rain and flooding until around 7pm this evening. Warnings are also in place for several other departments. The Bouches-du-Rhone was on a rare top-level Meteo France red alert for heavy rain and flooding, which early this evening was reduced to an orange alert. Firefighters in the Bouches-du-Rhone said that the equivalent of three months of rain fell in a few hours this morning.
The prefect of Var activated the operational center at the prefecture at 8:30 this morning. The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi activated the communal vigilance centre cell at 7am this morning and said that the services of the City of Nice and the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropole "are mobilized to deal with any eventuality".
The Alpes-Maritimes prefecture public information unit has been activated in order to respond to requests from individuals in need. The phone number is 09 70 80 90 40. The Prefect called for vigilance and caution when traveling, and to postpone trips if possible. He also said that there is a risk of flooding, hailstones and landsides. The Var prefecture has also advised residents not to travel between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. today. Speaking this afternoon, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin called on everyone to be careful and said that firefighters and the staff of the Civil Security are fully mobilised to provide protection, including the mobilisation of helicopters.
Schools in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var have been closed since lunchtime. The Monaco government said that schools haven't been closed in the Principality but that parents who wish can pick up their children to make travel easier. The government is also asking employers in the private and public sectors to authorize early departure from offices and to promote teleworking this afternoon.
Parks and gardens in Nice have been closed since 1pm as has access to the coastal path and the beaches. All appointments as from 12 noon at the vaccination centre located at the Kiosque in Nice have been moved to tomorrow. The assembly of the "Smart Mobility Show" event at the Quai des Etats-Unis has been suspended until further notice because of the weather and the perimeter is secured by barriers preventing pedestrian access.
Many small roads in the Var have become impassable because of flooding. Reports say that several dozen firefighters specialised in water rescue are on standby in the Var. This morning over 20,000 electricity customers around Toulon had their supplies cut off after weather related problems at an electricity sub station.
Full weather warnings are available on www.meteofrance.com
A national day of strike action is taking place tomorrow, with a wide range of services expected to be disrupted. Train services are starting to be affected from 7pm this evening. You can get more information about which local trains are running at local stations or on the website sncf.com or on the SNCF Assistant app. All tram services in Nice are expected to be suspended tomorow and bus services will be affected. You can get more information about Lignes d'Azur services on their website www.lignesdazur.com
The European Medicines Agency has approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine as a booster dose. The approval applies to people aged 18 and over at least 6 months after they received their second dose. Decisions regarding the administration of booster doses will be taken by public health bodies at national level.
Medium sized businesses in the UK have warned of reduced stock and higher prices because of staff shortages according to a new report released today. According to the findings from accountancy and advisory firm BDO, over a quarter of mid-tier businesses said staff shortages are putting the most pressure on their ability to operate at normal levels. More than a quarter of all businesses also said that reduced stock caused by supply chain disruption is putting pressure on their operations.
Meanwhile, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said there is no "magic wand" to make global supply problems disappear overnight. Speaking to the BBC he said that ministers were doing everything they could to mitigate disruption to fuel and food supplies and that what he called "pragmatic controlled immigration" could be part of a short-term solution.
Chinese property company Evergrande's shares have been suspended as investors await a statement about its future. The company said that the suspension has been made ahead of "an announcement containing inside information about a major transaction".
Cricket... The England and Wales Cricket Board is expected to decide this week if the men's Ashes tour of Australia will go ahead. England players were presented with the proposed conditions for the tour yesterday.
Football...Reports say that Watford are in advanced talks with Claudio Ranieri about becoming their new manager. The 69-year-old has previously managed a wide range of top flight clubs including Monaco, Chelsea, Leicester City, Valencia, Juventus and Roma. He recently left Italian club Sampdoria. Watford are currently 15th in the Premier League table and have won only two of their seven matches this season.