Paris readies for floods as Seine surges larger

30 January, 2018, 01:50 | Author: Kim Reid
  • The cafe ‘Les Nautes’ in Paris is seen partly immersed in the the water of the Seine river on Sunday. — AFP

Nearly 1,500 people have been evacuated after the swollen River Seine rose further, raising fears of severe flooding in Paris.

Unusually heavy rains have engulfed scenic quays, wine cellars and museum basements in Paris as Seine River appears rain-swollen.

Four reservoir lakes along the Marne, Seine, Aube and Yonne are already reportedly full beyond capacity, while further rainfall as the week progresses is expected to slow the the fall in river levels.

She warned that the high water levels would remain into next week, as water levels subside slowly due to waterlogged soil in the region.

At that point, the flood scale begins and it is normal for this time of year for the water level to rise by one or two metres, the Franceinfo website reports.

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The city's famous Bateaux Mouches tourist boats are out of service, with only emergency services allowed to use the river.

But the world's most visited museum was still on alert Sunday, along with the Musee d'Orsay and Orangerie galleries, with the lower level of the Louvre's Islamic arts wing closed to visitors at least until Monday.

Flood monitoring agency Vigicrues said the water levels in Paris hit a maximum height of 5.84 meters (19 feet, 2 inches) on the Austerlitz scale early Monday.

A health centre in the north-western suburbs, where 86 patients were receiving care, was evacuated on Friday.

More favourable weather is expected for the week ahead, and Vigicrues has lowered its warning level from orange to yellow in several areas upstream of the capital.

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Flooding caused destruction in Paris in 1910 when the Seine rose by 8.65 metres, although no deaths were recorded there.

A main commuter line, the RER C, has halted service at Paris stops through Wednesday, and some expressways that run alongside the Seine have been closed.

"In the South of the French capital, dozens of coastal buildings were flooded with water, disconnected electricity, and about a thousand residents had to be evacuated", - said in the message.

At the Pont d'Austerlitz, the Seine is about 26m deep, according to the Paris mayor's office.

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