This photo provided by Stephane Jourdain, after a torrent of water ripped out the bridge in Villegailhenc, southern France, Monday Oct. 15, 2018. Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday. (AP Photo/Stephane Jourdain)

The Latest: France's Macron to visit flood-hit Aude region

October 15, 2018 - 9:18 am

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on flash floods in southwest France (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

An official says French President Emmanuel Macron is traveling to southwestern France "as soon as possible" to meet with people affected by the flash floods in which 13 died.

A French presidency official said a date for the trip to the Aude region hasn't been set yet because Macron doesn't want to disturb the emergency response work. The official asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The official also said that an anticipated reshuffling of government ministers would not be announced on Monday since the government was focused on the flooding.

Overnight storms that swept in from the Mediterranean dumped the equivalent of several months of rain in just a few hours in the region. The worst-hit town was Trebes, east of the medieval walled city of Carcassonne, where nine people were killed.

Vigicrues, the French agency that monitors rivers for flood risks, says water levels are higher than at any time since 1891.

— By Sylvie Corbet in Paris.

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1:25 p.m.

The French Interior Ministry says the death toll from flash floods in southwest France has nearly doubled to 13.

Ministry spokesman Frederic de Lanouvelle says Monday that one other person is missing and five others are seriously hurt after flash floods tore through towns, turning streams into raging torrents.

He said nine of the 13 dead were clustered in one town, Trebes, in the Aude region. The official said the death toll could still rise further.

Some people had to be helicoptered to safety from the roofs of their homes as overnight storms dumped several months of rain in just a few hours.

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12:45 a.m.

Flash floods tore through towns in southwest France, turning streams into raging torrents that authorities said killed at least seven people and seriously injured five others. Some people had to be helicoptered to safety from the roofs of their homes as overnight storms dumped several months of rain in just a few hours.

Authorities said four deaths were clustered around the town of Villegailhenc in the Aude region, where a powerful, roiling surge of muddy water and debris ripped out a bridge.

Even as diluvial overnight rains that swept in from the Mediterranean began to ease Monday morning, France's Interior Ministry said the toll of seven deaths and five serious injuries could rise.

In Villegailhenc, Ines Siguet said the waters rose so quickly that people were stranded on the roofs of their homes and had to be helicoptered to safety. She posted video of the ripped-up road where the bridge used to be, with the town now cut in half.

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