Monday 17 June 2013

snow, rain, flood warnings

A hot, sticky weekend gave way to a cool and wet evening. Conked out to rain, woke up to rain. Thunderstorms all last night and then Tuesday arrived all grey and soggy. 

Flash flood warnings are up in the valley. The Bastan and the Gave de Pau which gush down from the Col du Tourmalet and le Cirque de Gavarnie respectively are known to spill over their banks in the Spring time, sending streams of water across low-lying roads and driving us into convoluted detours to avoid its overspill. There was one such flood [une crue] last Autumn, the weekend we were due to drive up to the UK. The gorge road was flooded and our only way out was up into the mountains and the across the Tourmalet pass. If the rivers flood again this week there'll be no such luck this time; the Tourmalet is still currently under 3 metres of accumulated snow.  

Just before dinner, we slipped on jackets and wellies, grabbed an umbrella and tramped across the village to see if the Bastan is behaving itself.

We could smell it before we could see it: a powerfully pungent earthy smell. 

We could hear it before we could see it: the gnashing and grinding of boulders in the river bed.

We could feel it before we could see it: the ground was trembling as we approached the riverside. 

The whole of Luz also seemed to be out inspecting the Bastan, which has transformed from an insignificant torrent to a mighty river of mud hurtling down the mountainside. Already some houses with river frontage are flooded and others are being evacuated. 

What started out last evening as a bit of rain, seems to be getting a bit serious...

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