Seine River peaks in Paris; problems remain – USA TODAY
The Seine River, normally stunning in its beauty as it flows through the heart of Paris, peaked early Saturday around the beleagueredÂ city inundated by historic flooding. The river hit its highest level in nearly 35 years, about 15 feet above average.
TheÂ toll from the flooding in France rose to four dead and 24 injured,Â French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Saturday after a government crisis center meeting, according to the Associated Press. HeÂ said the water levelÂ of the riverÂ is now decreasing âslowly but steadilyâ in Paris and vowed financial help for those hit hard by the flooding.
The torrential downpours have affected Germany, Romania and Belgium as well. The total death toll across EuropeÂ is aboutÂ 18, AP said.
The extreme weather was caused by a slow-moving stormÂ system, according to The Weather Channel, one that produced aÂ record-breaking and staggering amount of rainfall:Â Parts of northeast France near the border with BelgiumÂ received six full weeks of rain in just 24 hours.
The floodwaters forced the closure of at least two major landmarks in Paris: the Louvre and theÂ MusÃ©e d’Orsay, both located near the Seine. Officials said it might take at least four days before the Louvre, home to Leonardo da Vinciâs masterpiece Mona Lisa, would reopen. Curators were rushingÂ to move 250,000 pieces of art to upper floors, away from basement storage, AP reported. The d’Orsay was closed at least through the weekend.Â Other Paris landmarks shut down: the Grand Palais, theÂ museum complex located onÂ the Champs-ÃlysÃ©es,Â and the national library.
Even though the Seine has started to recede, problems remained in Paris. Thousands were stillÂ without power, many roads weren’t passable because of high water, andÂ railway and Metro stations wereÂ shuttered.
Franceâs meteorological service said Saturday that high-flood alerts remained in effect in 14 regions, mostly in central and western France, including Paris, AP reported, with more flooding possible inÂ Normandy.