Heavy rains of the past days have caused the level of the Arve river to rise to dangerous levels. The water flow has exceeded the highest value recorded in 1904. Five of the eight bridges spanning the Arve are completely closed. The peak should be reached in the morning. This is amazing… I still remember swimming and kayaking in this same river!
Traffic will be disrupted in the Geneva today, as five of the eight bridges spanning the Arve are closed, not only to cars but to pedestrians and public transports as well. Only the bridges of Sierne (below Veyrier), Saint-Georges (below the Bois de la Bâtie) and Hans-Wilsdorf (between the Vernets ice rink and the RTS tower) remain open.
The closed structures are as follows: Vessy, Val d’Arve, Fontenette, Carouge and Acacias (the last two usually accommodate public transportation, which have been cancelled). None of these bridges will be reopened before noon.
🚨 Crue de l’#Arve à #Genève – Niveau d’alerte maximal, cinq ponts fermés, dont celui du Val d’Arve (vidéo ci-dessous) et trafic fortement perturbé. Toutes les infos ici: https://t.co/U7tmPKdsiI pic.twitter.com/9rCeANzi3T
— Tribune de Genève (@tdgch) November 15, 2023
The Arve has practically reached the sidewalk
Normally about 2-3 meters below the level of the road, the water was just three centimeters from the pavement around 8:15 a.m. near Uni Mail in the city center. Protective barriers and wooden plates have been installed to protect from overflowing.
« Crue du siècle » à #Genève. Au petit matin, le débit de l’Arve atteint 937 m3/s. Les pompiers protègent les quais alors que l’eau continue de monter. Le trafic sera fortement perturbé: cinq ponts sont fermés. @RTSinfo pic.twitter.com/mLEgn9mVsE
— Guillaume Martinez (@guimartinezzz) November 15, 2023
“It’s the flood of the century,” explained the first lieutenant of the Fire and Rescue Service (SIS) Nicolas Millot at 5:15 a.m. “At 4:30 a.m. in Reignier, the flow reached 1210 cubic meters per second. The time difference with Geneva is one and a half hours.”
This is where the Arve and the Rhone rivers meet in Geneva:
L’Arve en crue. 3 ponts sur 8 ouverts ce matin à #Geneve. Débit record, au delà de la dernière crue centennale de 2015. À la Jonction, l’Arve prend l’avantage sur le Rhône @RTSinfo pic.twitter.com/LpASuqFloK
— Julien Chiffelle (@JulienChiffelle) November 15, 2023
It normally looks like that:
How do I know that? I used to kayak and swim a lot in these waters when I was a teenager!
According to data from the Federal Office for the Environment, the flow of the Arve rose to 956 m3/s at 5:30 a.m. This is the highest value since measurements began in 1904. In Geneva, the peak was being reached around 8:30 a.m..
The SIS officer pointed out that since 1904, the flow of the Arve had only exceeded 800 cubic meters per second five times. “The last time was in 2015, and we reached 915 m3/s.”
Selon les données de l’@ofevCH, le débit de l’#Arve à #Genève atteint 956 m3/s ce matin à 5h30. Il s’agit de la valeur la plus élevée depuis le début des mesures en 1904 (devant les 923 m3/s du 02.05.2015). Le pic devrait être atteint dans la matinée.https://t.co/EHDsty1afk pic.twitter.com/aX85Ew0prZ
— MétéoSuisse (@meteosuisse) November 15, 2023
Fear for bridges
More than an overflow, firefighters fear for the stability of the structures being hit by the raging water. “And you have to see the trunks coming down…” adds Nicolas Millot.
The closing of the bridges is based on their solidity, in other words on their capacity to resist shocks. The firefighter recalled that in 2015, the year of the previous flood, huge granite blocks used for the construction of the Léman Express had been swept away by the floods and had never been found again. “From the Carouge bridge, the Arve is in a straight line and nothing slows down the objects it carries, which gain a lot of speed.”
— Stéphanie 🌸 (@StephJaq) November 15, 2023
— Fanny Scuderi (@FannyScuderi) November 15, 2023
🌊 La crue de l’Arve s’est propagée vers l’aval et occasionne des inondations dans la région de Genève ce mercredi matin. (© Nathalie Perreard) pic.twitter.com/y9DXPs8lEc
— Météo Express (@MeteoExpress) November 15, 2023
The situation is expected to worsen in the short term, with higher temperatures accelerating the melting of snow between 1,500 and 2,500 metres and, consequently, increasing flows in the rivers.
As a result, “exceptional flows from the Arve” are expected, municipal authorities warned, calling on the population to “exercise extreme caution.”
Could this flooding of the century be linked to today’s visit of Macron in Switzerland… It could be indeed…
🇫🇷 🇨🇭Le gouvernement suisse, sous l’égide du #PrésidentCH @alain_berset, accueillera le président français @EmmanuelMacron. Thèmes: coopération bilatérale & transfrontalière, sécurité & prospérité du continent, questions internat. & européennes: https://t.co/4fSoIsH4W9 @Elysee pic.twitter.com/0TOnWTV1zp
— André Simonazzi (@BR_Sprecher) November 9, 2023
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