Water levels in the Seine River have kept on rising, endangering basements and tunnels in the French capital. The famed Louvre has closed its bottom floor as a precaution, and transport has been disrupted.
Parisians were on Saturday preparing for the Seine River to rise further as it approached peak levels, with forecasters warning that flood danger both in the French capital and other regions could stay high for the next week.
The Vigicrues flooding agency says the Seine will top out at 5.8 to 6 meters (19 to 19.7 feet) between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
Although that is below the 6.2 meters reached two years ago, when two people in the Paris area died and several were injured in flooding, it could still cause problems for transport and those living on the river’s banks.
City authorities have closed several tunnels, parks and the bottom floor of the Louvre Museum as precautionary measures, and the Musee d’Orsay and the Orangerie are on high alert.
Roads on the river banks have also been closed to traffic, and seven train stations alongside the river have been shut down. River traffic has been suspended, disappointing tourists eager to take sightseeing cruises.
Other regions worse affected
Because the Seine flows through a deep channel in central Paris, riverside structures there are not in as much danger as in several other areas on the outskirts, where more severe flooding has occurred.
In the southern suburb of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, some residents have even been forced to take to boats to get around, and dozens have been evacuated from their homes.
The Yonne department further to the south in the Seine basin also saw “significant flooding” on Friday, according to authorities, with some 40 roads blocked.
The Saone river is also expected to swell, and a red alert has been issued for the eastern towns of Chalon-sur-Saone and Macon.
The December-January period is now the third-wettest since the beginning of data collection in 1900, according to Meteo France.
tj/rc (AFP, AP)