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Paris floods latest: River Seine rises towards 6-metre mark as barriers deployed

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Paris floods latest: River Seine rises towards 6-metre mark as barriers deployed
AFP
09:59 CET+01:00
The River Seine continued to rise in Paris on Thursday as it headed toward the 6-metre mark. The capital's famous museums were taking emergency measures and transport authorities said part of a major train line would remain closed for a week.

Although it's stopped raining over Paris in recent days the level of the River Seine that flows through the capital continued to rise on Thursday.

Roads and paths along the river were already flooded days ago and have long since been closed off.

River traffic has long been halted on the Seine, which is normally packed with tour boats and owners of the city's picturesque houseboats worry their vessels might be lifted onto the quais.

The RER C train line which runs alongside the river has been suspended in the central section.

Transport authorities announced on Wednesday that the line would remain cut until January 31st at the earliest meaning there will be no RER C services at the following stations: Saint-Michel Notre-Dame, Musée d'Orsay, Invalides, Pont de l'Alma, Champ de Mars, Avenue du Président Kennedy and Boulainvilliers.

All Metro stations are currently open although services have been affected by the floods especially on line 7 where water has got on to the tracks. Sand bags have been piled up at the Pont Neuf station, on the right bank of the river.

On Thursday the level of the Seine had reached 5.4 metres at 6am, but it's expected to keep on rising until Saturday when it's forecast to peak at around 6.2 metres. The water is rising at a rate of around 2cm per hour.

The famous Zouave statue on the Pont d'Alma bridge (see pic below), which is used as a gauge of how high the river is, has water lapping around its knees. By the end of Thursday his thighs will be well and truly soaked.

READ ALSO: LATEST IMAGES: Paris floods as River Seine reaches new heights

The height of the Seine is measured not from the riverbed but from a point located at the Austerlitz bridge -- but 6.2 metres is three to four times its usual level of between one and two metres.

That would surpass the level of the 2016 flood, when the level of the flood reached 6.1 metres. That's still a long way below 8.6 metres - the level the Seine reached in the 1910 "flood of the century".

Two reports published in 2013 raised the alarm bells after stating the French capital  remains dangerously unprepared if a major flooding of the Seine river were to occur in the near future.

Just as in 2016 a crisis cell has been set up by City Hall to monitor the situation and organise the emergency response. City Hall has told residents not to store any valuale goods in cellars or basements. Flood barriers have been installed in the 12th,15th and 16th arrondissements along the river banks.

 

The French capital's famous museums have been forced to take action with the Louvre the first to flinch in the face of the rising river. 

Part of the famous gallery was closed as artworks were moved to higher ground.

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"No water has yet got in" to the Louvre's Islamic Art wing in the basement, but it will remain off limits to visitors until at least Sunday, the museum said Wednesday.

The Musee d'Orsay and the Orangerie were also preparing for flooding risks, cancelling their weekly evening opening on Thursday in case works need to be moved.

In June 2016 the Louvre transferred 35,000 works -- about a quarter of its total -- from areas at risk of flooding in just 48 hours.

Since then work has started on a conservation site for Louvre works vulnerable to water leaks near the northern city of Lens, but the 60 million euro facility is not expected to open until summer 2019.

The suburbs to the south east of Paris around the river Marne, which has also broken its banks have been badly hit by the rising waters.

One of the hardest hit towns is Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, which stands on the banks of the Seine to the south of Paris. The rising river left streets and cars under water an forced residents to take to boats. Two neighbourhoods n the town have been left submerged and 150 residents have been evacuated.

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