Paris remains on flood alert, 1,000 evacuated as Seine rises

Residents check the swollen waters of the Seine river following torrential rains in Paris on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. The French capital remained on flood alert after the river burst its banks, leaving streets flooded and forcing part of the lower level of the famous Louvre Museum to close. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI

Jan. 28 (UPI) — The number of evacuees in Paris rose to 1,000 on Saturday and 1,200 properties were without power after flooding caused the Seine River to burst its banks.

Flood alerts remain, but officials are hopeful the water will begin to recede as the rainfall finally stopped on Friday.

Initially there were fears the water would peak at more than 20 feet above normal, but meteorologists say that is unlikely, providing new rainfall does not occur after what they are calling a “calm lull”, which should last several days.

Last time the water levels reached 20 feet above normal was in 2016, causing a serious flooding event. Saturday, the river peaked just shy of 19 feet above normal.

As a precaution, two hospitals in the city transferred patients to other hospitals. Flooding also caused disruption to some of the train services in the city and walkways and roads near the river are closed.

The Seine’s water level will remain high for several days as grounds and lakes are saturated. The flooding, caused by December and January rainfall twice the usual amount, closed the Louvre’s basement gallery of Islamic art and flushed rats from the city’s sewers.

Sunday will mark the anniversary of the worst natural disaster in the history of Paris. On Jan. 28, 1910, the Seine reached nearly 28 feet, killing five people and displacing thousands from their homes.


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