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Seine Reaches Peak in Paris

Seine Reaches Peak in Paris

Monday, 29 January, 2018 - 06:15
Workers pump water from the Javel railway station, flooded due to the high level of the Seine River in Paris. Ludovic Marin / AFP

The swollen Seine peaked Monday at more than four meters above its normal level after nearly 1,500 people were forced to evacuate from their homes.


The river rose to 5.84 meters early Monday, causing continued headaches for commuters as well as people living near its overflowing banks.


The Vigicrues flooding watchdog said the river would stay at its current level throughout the day before beginning to recede Tuesday.


Around 1,500 people have been evacuated from their homes in the greater Paris region, according to police, while a similar number of homes remain without electricity.


"The waters will only go away slowly," said Michel Delpuech, head of the Paris police body.


Paris regional authorities say the floods have already caused damage in 240 towns.


Tourists also suffered with the capital's famous Bateaux Mouches rivercraft out of service, and only emergency services authorized to navigate the waterway.


The Seine did not quite reach the 2016 high of 6.1 meters, when priceless artworks had to be evacuated from the Louvre.


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.


A statue of an Algerian French army soldier from the Crimean War named Zouave that has guarded the river at the Pont d'Alma bridge in central Paris since 1910 was drenched up to the thighs in the muddy waters.


"Fluctuat nec mergitur (tossed but not sunk) but it's cooold," the Zouave statue tweeted from an account set up in its name by an anonymous admirer, using the Latin motto of the City of Paris.


Police again warned flooding aficionados against bathing or canoeing in the river, saying it was "forbidden and extremely dangerous".


More favorable weather is expected for the week ahead, but even once the water levels start to recede forecasters and officials say it will be a slow process, as much of the ground in northern France is already waterlogged.


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


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