Rivers keep swelling in France, disrupting services

AP News
Posted: Jan 24, 2018 4:12 PM
Rivers keep swelling in France, disrupting services

PARIS (AP) — Rivers across France kept swelling on Wednesday despite a pause in the rain, with train service disrupted in Paris as the Seine River rose and flooded walkways.

In one outlying suburb, soldiers were on alert to intervene. In another, small boats were put at the disposal of town folk.

Meteo France, the national weather agency, said 23 departments remained on orange alert, the second highest level of vigilance, urging people to limit their movement and to stay vigilant.

In Paris, the Seine River reached 5.18 meters (nearly 17 feet) by noon at the Austerlitz bridge in the east, the Transport Ministry said. It was expected to keep rising, reaching 6.10 meters (20 feet) by Saturday — as high as the June 2016 flooding when authorities were forced to close several monuments, including the Louvre Museum.

Roads along the shores of the Seine remained closed on Wednesday as well as seven train stations alongside the river.

In the southeastern Paris suburb of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, which is crossed by both the Seine and its Yerres tributary, local mayor Sylvie Altman said soldiers will be deployed to help evacuate the population. Police forces and fire brigades were on site, patrolling flooded streets on small boats.

Altman told France Info radio that water levels were expected to keep rising until Friday.

"We should get military trucks to help us evacuate and make people move along," she said.

In the flooded village of Conde-Sainte-Libiaire, east of Paris, where the Seine and the Morin rivers pass, small boats were made available so residents could keep appointments, deputy mayor Rene Salacroup told BFM TV.

West of Paris, the Seine River burst its banks in some spots and spread to almost twice its usual breadth between the towns of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Le Pecq. The area is well downstream of Paris.