Paris on alert as Seine swells even higher

by Abel Hampton January 29, 2018, 0:17
Paris on alert as Seine swells even higher

A man, pictured above, takes a photo of the Seine on Friday, days after the river burst its banks causing nearby docks, pictured below, to be completely submerged.This isn't the first time the city has experienced severe flooding.

During the 2016 floods, several monuments had to be closed, including the Louvre, where artworks had to be evacuated.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said her main worries were the impact the floods were having on the French capital's economic activities linked to the river, and rainfall which could see water rise even further. In the center of Paris, the downpour disrupted some metro and train services while walkways and roads near the river were closed.

Some quay-side restaurants are underwater and some roads and parks have been closed as a precautionary measure - along with the bottom floor of the Louvre Museum. Last week, the Louvre shut the lower level of its department of Islamic Arts.

"Currently we are at 5.71 metres and we should peak between 5.8 and 6 metres maximum", she said.

Nevertheless, Parisians appeared unfazed, saying the deluge had not affected their daily lives too much. But in smaller towns along the river, our correspondent adds, shoppers and commuters have been punting boats along flooded streets. In 1910, the Seine rose above 28 feet, giving Paris "the aspect of a beleaguered place", according to a New York Times report at the time.

"Because of climate change, we can expect floods in the Seine basin to be at least as frequent as they are right now", said Florence Habets, a senior researcher at the CNRS, France's national center for scientific research.

The extent of the rising water levels was evident from the Seine lapping half way up the Zouave statue of a Crimean soldier on the Pont de l'Alma bridge.

"I understand that people might fear the floods because of the strength of the current but here we are in a port, no current, so there is no fear".

Police said that as of 6 a.m. Saturday, 1,000 people had been evacuated and 1,200 properties were without power. South of the capital, the Seine has been more punishing in the suburb of Conde-Sainte-Libiaire, where residents were evacuated as roads turned into rivers and homes were left nearly submerged.


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