Paris on alert as the Seine begins to flood

Posted at 8:04 AM, Jan 27, 2018

Paris remained on flood alert Friday as water levels in the River Seine continued to rise after days of torrential rain.

The Seine burst its banks earlier this week when water levels reached just over 5 meters (17 feet). There were fears that the water could peak at 6.2 meters (just over 20 feet) on Saturday.

But after it stopped raining on Friday, the French meteorological service Meteo France said that was unlikely.

In the center of Paris, the downpour disrupted some metro and train services while walkways and roads near the river were closed.

The Louvre, which is next to the river, partially closed one wing as a cautionary measure. Louvre officials told CNN that the museum expects the lower level of the Islamic wing to remain closed until at least Monday and they have protocols in place to protect valuable artworks should the situation deteriorate. Parisians were nevertheless unfazed, saying the deluge had not impacted their daily lives too much.

"It's dangerous but it's not the end of the life so you just need to pay attention," one residenttold CNN.

"I'm not surprised but it's always crazy to see this and I hope it's not going to last," another Parisian said.

This isn't the first time the city has experienced severe flooding. In June 2016, riverside museums were forced to move artwork from their basements.

Water levels in the rain-swollen Seine are nowhere near those reached in 1910 when waters rose to more than 28 feet, forcing residents to evacuate.

Colombe Brossel, the deputy Paris mayor, told CNN that the city had learned from past mistakes but she thinks more needs to be done to adapt to climate change.

"Two flooding of the Seine river in less than two years -- we have to change, we have to change the way we build this city," Brossel said. "We have to understand that climatic change is not a word, it's a reality."

South of the capital, the Seine has been more punishing in the suburb of Conde-Sainte-Libiaire, where residents were evacuated as roads turned into rivers and homes were left almost submerged.

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