Paris on Flood Watch as Rivers Swell Amid Heavy Rainfall

Rivers across France kept swelling as more rain hit the country Thursday, with 15 departments across the country remaining on alert for floods.

In addition to Paris, where the Seine river is expected to keep rising until Saturday, the other regions threatened are in the north and east of the country. Four other departments in central France have been placed on alert for snow and ice.

Meteo France said that exceptionally high levels of rain this winter were to blame for the floods, with rainfall in Paris twice as high as normal.

The Seine reached nearly 18 feet by Thursday morning at the Austerlitz bridge in the east of the city. It was expected to keep rising, reaching 20 feet by Saturday, as high as the June 2016 flooding when authorities were forced to close several monuments, including the Louvre Museum.

The situation is, however, far less severe than during the 1910 Great Flood, when the Seine water level rose to more than 28 feet, forcing many Parisians to evacuate their homes.

Two years ago, the Louvre was closed for four days and 35,000 artworks were moved to safe zones.

“Since then, a large number of reserve collections has been packed to ensure their rapid evacuation in the event of flooding, and staff have also been trained,” the Louvre said in a statement.

The museum remains open for now but the lower level of the department of Islamic Art has been closed to the public until at least Sunday.

SOURCE: The Associated Press