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Sunday, January 28, 2018




More than 200 French towns battle floodwaters as River Seine is set to reach peak tonight - closing roads and schools and evacuating hospitals in underwater Paris



  • River Seine has swollen to more than 13ft higher than its normal level amid the third-wettest winter since 1900
  • The Louvre is on high alert, with its lower level closed, and Musee d'Orsay and Orangerie galleries also at risk
  • Vigicrues flooding agency believe the river will continue to rise, peaking at 13.1ft this evening or on Monday
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More than 200 French towns are battling to keep out floodwaters as the River Seine reaches its peak after weeks of heavy rains.  
Paris regional authorities say the floods have already caused damage in 240 towns as Paris itself suffers from the deluge, which has forced about 1,500 people to leave their homes and closed the ground floor of the Louvre. 
In Villennes-sur-Seine, west of Paris, the ground floors of some buildings have disappeared underwater and residents are using boats instead of cars.
In Paris, cruise boat companies are suffering losses because all river traffic has been banned for days.
Police have also fined people taking to canoes on the Seine in central Paris, and sternly ordered others in a tweet against such actions, calling them 'totally irresponsible'.    
Paris regional authorities say the floods have already caused damage in 240 towns. In Villennes-sur-Seine west of Paris, the ground floor of some buildings has disappeared underwater and residents are using boats instead of cars. Pictured: Cafe 'Les Nautes' party submerged in the Seine 
Paris regional authorities say the floods have already caused damage in 240 towns. In Villennes-sur-Seine west of Paris, the ground floor of some buildings has disappeared underwater and residents are using boats instead of cars. Pictured: Cafe 'Les Nautes' party submerged in the Seine 
Police fined people who took a canoe Saturday into the Seine in central Paris, and sternly ordered others in a tweet against such actions, calling them 'totally irresponsible.' Pictured: A flooded street in Paris 
Police fined people who took a canoe Saturday into the Seine in central Paris, and sternly ordered others in a tweet against such actions, calling them 'totally irresponsible.' Pictured: A flooded street in Paris 
Swollen by weeks of heavy rains, the Seine River is expected to reach its peak in the French capital late Sunday or early Monday
Swollen by weeks of heavy rains, the Seine River is expected to reach its peak in the French capital late Sunday or early Monday
People cross a bridge over the swollen Seine river in Paris today. A main commuter line, the RER C, has halted service at Paris stops until Wednesday, and some expressways that run alongside the Seine have been closed
People cross a bridge over the swollen Seine river in Paris today. A main commuter line, the RER C, has halted service at Paris stops until Wednesday, and some expressways that run alongside the Seine have been closed
Even once the water levels start to recede, forecasters and officials say it will be a slow process, since much of the ground in northern France is already waterlogged. Pictured: The bloated Seine today 
Even once the water levels start to recede, forecasters and officials say it will be a slow process, since much of the ground in northern France is already waterlogged. Pictured: The bloated Seine today 
A man fishes off a barrier partially submerged by the water of the swollen Seine
A tree is immersed in the water today
Left: A man fishes off a barrier partially submerged by the water of the swollen Seine. Right: A tree is immersed in the river today
The French capital remains on high alert as the Seine continues to swell and the Louvre prepares to close its doors amid the third-wettest French winter in over a century.
The river had risen 4.3in over a period of 24 hours by Saturday evening, more than 13ft above its normal height, causing problems for commuters as well as people living near its overflowing banks.
Tourists suffered too with the capital's famous Bateaux Mouches rivercraft out of service, and only emergency services authorised to navigate the Seine.
The Vigicrues flooding agency believe the river will continue to rise, peaking at 13.1ft on Sunday night or Monday, but not quite reaching the 2016 high of 20ft, when the Louvre museum was forced to close its doors for four days.
But the world's most visited museum was on high alert on Saturday, along with the Musee d'Orsay and Orangerie galleries, with the lower level of the Louvre's Islamic arts wing closed to visitors.
Residents are evacuated from their homes in Paris suburbs
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Leaks started to appear in some basements in Paris on Friday, while some residents on the city's outskirts were forced to travel by boat through waterlogged streets. Pictured: The Eiffel tower and replica of the Statue of Liberty shown near the swollen Seine in Paris
In total around 1,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the greater Paris region, according to police, while around 1,500 homes were without electricity. Pictured: Parisians fishing in the swollen Seine 
In total around 1,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the greater Paris region, according to police, while around 1,500 homes were without electricity. Pictured right: Parisians fishing in the swollen Seine. Left: The Eiffel tower and replica of the Statue of Liberty shown near the swollen Seine in Paris
Leaks started to appear in some basements in Paris on Friday, while some residents on the city's outskirts were forced to travel by boat through waterlogged streets.
A health centre in Paris's northwestern suburbs, where 86 patients were receiving care, was also evacuated on Friday.
Michel Delpuech, head of the Paris police body, told reporters that around 1,500 people had been moved out of homes in the Ile de France region comprising the French capital and its suburbs.
'The waters will only go away slowly,' added Delpuech. 
'Due to the spread of flooding to different tributaries, the level of the Seine in Paris will continue rising again on the weekend,' said Vigicrues, adding that the highest level would last for about 10 hours before slowly going down.
A health centre in Paris's northwestern suburbs, where 86 patients were receiving care, was also evacuated on Friday. Pictured: A submerged road in the capital 
A health centre in Paris's northwestern suburbs, where 86 patients were receiving care, was also evacuated on Friday. Pictured: A submerged road in the capital 
A flooded street lamp is pictured next to the river Seine in Paris in Paris on Saturday night. Floodwaters were nearing their peak in Paris on Saturday, with the rain-swollen Seine River engulfing scenic quays and threatening wine cellars and museum basements
Water rushes past Alma bridge by the Zouave statue which is used as a measuring instrument during floods in the French capital
A flooded street lamp is pictured next to the river Seine in Paris in Paris on Saturday night (left). Floodwaters were nearing their peak in Paris on Saturday, with the rain-swollen Seine River engulfing scenic quays and threatening wine cellars and museum basements. Right: Water rushes past Alma bridge by the Zouave statue, which is used as a measuring instrument during floods
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.
It was enough to worry Joao de Macedo, janitor at a residential building in Paris's upscale 16th Arrondissement.
'There are six studios in the basement, and we've had to set up blocks outside to keep the windows from breaking and covering everything in water,' he said.
Inside the studios, tables and dressers have been lifted off the floor as water seeps through the walls.
Outside, where the river was nearly lapping the tyres of parked vehicles, a young woman said it was 'great to see ducks instead of cars'.
The December-January period is now the third-wettest on record since data collection began in 1900, according to France's meteorological service.
However, fears of flooding like that of 1910, which saw the Seine rise to 28ft, shutting down much of Paris's basic infrastructure, appeared unfounded. 
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.
In the south of France, heavy rains caused a breach in the water supply pipe of a holding tank on an oil platform in La Mede, near Marseille, on Saturday, French giant Total said. Pictured: Children playing in the swollen river 
In the south of France, heavy rains caused a breach in the water supply pipe of a holding tank on an oil platform in La Mede, near Marseille, on Saturday, French giant Total said. Pictured: Children playing in the swollen river 
'If we're talking about things going completely back to normal, that's going to take weeks,' said Jerome Goellner, regional head of environmental services
'If we're talking about things going completely back to normal, that's going to take weeks,' said Jerome Goellner, regional head of environmental services
In Paris the Seine flows through a deep channel, limiting the potential flooding damage to riverside structures. But several areas on the city's outskirts are under water, such as the southern suburb of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, where some residents were getting around by boat and dozens have been evacuated from their homes 
In Paris the Seine flows through a deep channel, limiting the potential flooding damage to riverside structures. But several areas on the city's outskirts are under water, such as the southern suburb of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, where some residents were getting around by boat and dozens have been evacuated from their homes 
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. Pictured: The swelling Seine 
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. Pictured: The swelling Seine 
Tourists suffered too with the capital's famous Bateaux Mouches rivercraft out of service, and only emergency services authorised to navigate the Seine
Tourists suffered too with the capital's famous Bateaux Mouches rivercraft out of service, and only emergency services authorised to navigate the Seine
But even once the water levels start to recede, forecasters and officials say it will be a slow process, since much of the ground in northern France is already waterlogged.
'If we're talking about things going completely back to normal, that's going to take weeks,' said Jerome Goellner, regional head of environmental services.
A main commuter line, the RER C, has halted service at Paris stops until Wednesday, and some expressways that run alongside the Seine have been closed.
A ticket booth for sightseeing boats is partly submerged by the River Seine. Tourist trips on the river have been cancelled 
A ticket booth for sightseeing boats is partly submerged by the River Seine. Tourist trips on the river have been cancelled 
Residents of Paris take to the flooded River Seine in a dinghy
Parisians appear to have taken the flooding in their stride, including these people using a dinghy to make their way along the river
Parisians appear to have taken the flooding in their stride, including these people using a dinghy to make their way along the river
Floods hit Paris as the River Seine continues to rise
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People living beside the Seine have been warned their wine cellars could be at risk from the flooding 
People living beside the Seine have been warned their wine cellars could be at risk from the flooding 
Some people took advantage of the floods to exercise their creativity. A photographer takes a picture of a model standing in the Seine 
Some people took advantage of the floods to exercise their creativity. A photographer takes a picture of a model standing in the Seine 
In Paris the Seine flows through a deep channel, limiting the potential flooding damage to riverside structures.
But several areas on the city's outskirts are under water, such as the southern suburb of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, where some residents were getting around by boat and dozens have been evacuated from their homes.
In the south of France, heavy rains caused a breach in the water supply pipe of a holding tank on an oil platform in La Mede, near Marseille, on Saturday, French giant Total said.
Contaminated water, not concentrated crude oil, had leaked, Total said in a statement. 

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