Evacuations begin as rain causes Paris’ Seine River to overflow

Heavy rainfall in France has caused the Seine River in Paris to overflow its banks. The river was 18 feet above normal on Thursday, and the Louvre closed its basement gallery. Photo by Etienne Launernt/EPA-EFE

Jan. 26 (UPI) — About 400 people have been evacuated thus far as continued rising flood waters in Paris caused the Seine River to overflow its banks, authorities said.

The flooding, caused by December and January rainfall twice the usual amount, closed the Louvre’s basement gallery of Islamic art and left the Seine River 18 feet above normal on Thursday.

Meteorologists predicted the river will be 20 feet above normal during the weekend. Other museums began making preparations to close their galleries, and boat travel on the river through Paris was halted because vessels could not pass under bridges.

Nearly 400 people have been evacuated from the city and its suburbs thus far, and residents living near the river have boarded up homes. Commuter train travel has been interrupted as well, and several suburbs reported power outages.

The flooding is also flushing rats from the city’s sewers, a rodent authority said.

Pierre Falgayrac, described by France24 as an expert in urban rodents, commented that the flood is making the city’s rat problem more evident.

“That doesn’t mean there are more of them, only that we see them more often,” said Falgayrac, who estimates there are 1.75 rats in the city for each Parisian resident.

The city of Lyon, southeast of Paris, has a similar situation, with the Saone and Rhone rivers overflowing their banks because of heavy rainfall. Lower levels of car parking ramps near the rivers, whose confluence is in downtown Lyon, were evacuated.


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