January 23, 2018 / 4:25 PM / 2 years ago

River Seine traffic halted, stations to close as flood level rises

View of the flooded banks of the River Seine near the Eiffel tower in Paris, France, after days of almost non-stop rain caused flooding in the country, January 23, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris authorities have suspended river traffic and on Wednesday will close several rail stations serving tourist destinations including the Eiffel Tower and Musee d’Orsay as relentless rains swell the river Seine’s levels.

Fire crews evacuated houseboats amid worries they could break the moorings as the river rose a further 40 cm overnight to reach 4.92 metres (16.14 ft), with forecasts showing the Seine’s level could peak at around 5.70 metres on Saturday, Paris police said.

In 2016, several people died and the French capital’s famous Louvre museum moved scores of artworks and precious artefacts to safety when the Seine rose to just over 6 metres. Flood damage in the city then cost about 1 billion euros ($1.23 billion), according to the OECD.

Six metres is still well below the level where it would pose danger to residents. The river reached a record high of 8.6 metres in 1910, when thousands of Parisians had to flee flooded low-lying areas of the city.

Reporting by Julie Carriat; editing by Richard Lough

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