PARIS, June 3 (UPI) — Rising floodwaters brought the death toll up to 15 in Western Europe after days of relentless rain.
The Seine River is expected to rise to 20 feet above its normal level Friday, the highest since 1982, the French Environmental Ministry said. More than 22,000 homes in Paris and elsewhere were without power, and the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay closed so employees could transport collections of priceless artwork and antiquities to safety.
Emergency barriers were installed along the river, and bridges were closed.
The flooding comes as France deals with a rail strike ceasing operation of 50 percent of the nation’s trains and violent protests against the government’s labor reform law. The country is also host of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. The current French Open tennis tournament will likely be extended by another week.
The Seine crested at 26 feet, the record, in 1910, when Paris was flooded for two months.
The slow-moving weather system forced the evacuation of thousands in towns across Europe, from France to Ukraine, with more rain forecast for the weekend.
Fifteen people have died in the severe weather, including 10 in southern Germany, two in France, two in Romania and one in Belgium.
Water levels are also rising in southern Germany’s Bavaria state, where three women were discovered drowned in the home’s basement, and 250 children were trapped in their school by rising floodwaters until their rescue.