Paris underwater as Seine River flooding challenges worst in 60 years

By by Miguel Perez, AccuWeather En Español Staff Writer
June 06, 2016, 2:35:30 AM EDT

Torrential rain has inundated France, including Paris, where flooding has caused deaths, thousands of evacuations and closures of museums.

The rain that fell across eastern and central France on Wednesday and Thursday brought a rise in the levels of rivers, including along the Seine River which runs through Paris.

Water levels rose high enough to escape the banks of the river and took to the streets of the French capital.

Four people have died across France, according to the BBC, in addition to numerous deaths caused by flooding across Germany and Belgium.

Parts of France where the worst flooding has occurred were declared a national disaster by French President Francois Hollande on Thursday, according to The Local.

Some of the most important historical sites are vulnerable to the increased water level. One of these is the Louvre, which is located on the northern bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement in Paris. The Louvre is recognized and highlighted as the world's largest museum and is a symbol and historical monument of France and the world.

The French News Agency (AFP) reported that the Louvre in Paris said it would close on Friday to evacuate artworks that are stored in their underground reserves due to the flooding of the Seine River. Likewise, AFP stressed that the Louvre said in a statement that "the aim is to move works situated in areas vulnerable to flooding to safety by moving them to higher floors."


The Musee d'Orsay, another famous art museum in Paris, is located on the southern bank of the Seine and also closed on Friday to protect its artifacts. The AFP reported on Friday that the museum would remain closed until Tuesday.

Many parks, transportation lines and businesses were also forced to close due to the flooding. More than 17,000 homes were without power in the Paris region and central France on Saturday, according to French energy company Enedis.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister, “The river Seine increased due to the heavy rain that fell south of Paris. Because of this, water levels continued to rise through Friday before slowly falling over the weekend.”

The Seine River rose to 6.1 m (20 feet), reaching its crest early on Saturday morning.

This is the highest level the Seine River has risen since 1982, when the river reached 6.18 m (20.3 feet). If the river level of 6.5 m was reached, this would have been the worst flooding Paris has endured since 1955.

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Some 5,000 people have left their homes because the centers of cities and roads have been flooded by rivers south of Paris. Water levels have been rising faster than what is known as the Great Floods of 1910, when the French capital suffered its worst flooding.

While the widespread rain that lead to the flooding has ended, a stubborn storm system will remain across the country through the beginning of the new week sparking showers and thunderstorms through at least Tuesday.

While this rain is not expected to be enough to cause widespread, new flooding, isolated downpours will slow the retreat of current flood waters.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Spamer contributed content to this story.

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