Floodwaters hit peak in Paris, now threaten Normandy

Associated Press

Paris – Floodwaters have reached a peak in Paris and are now threatening towns downstream along the rain-engorged Seine River.

Weeks of heavy rains have swollen the Seine and tributaries, forcing road closures, engulfing scenic embankments and halting river boat cruises through the French capital.

The national flood monitoring agency Vigicrues said the water levels hit a maximum height of 19 feet, 2 inches on the Austerlitz scale early Monday.

That’s below initial fears last week, and well below record levels of 8.62 meters in 1910, but still several meters above normal levels of about 1.5 meters on the Austerlitz scale.

And the waters are expected to stay unusually high for days or weeks.

That’s bad news for tourists hoping to cruise past Paris sites on the famed “bateaux mouches” riverboats, or visit the bottom floor of the Louvre Museum, closed since last week as a precaution. Riverside train stations along the line that serves Versailles are also closed, and will remain that way for several more days.

Water laps the underside of historic bridges, and treetops and lampposts poke out of the brown, swirling Seine.

But Paris is better prepared than when it was last hit by heavy flooding in 2016, and Parisians have largely taken disruptions in stride this time.

Other towns on the surging Seine have seen it much worse.

The floods have caused damage in 242 towns along the river and tributaries, and are now threatening more towns as the Seine heads downstream west of Paris toward Normandy and the English Channel.