PARIS (AP) — Almost 400 people were evacuated from their homes in the Paris region as a precaution Thursday as rivers across France kept swelling. Thirteen departments across the country remained on alert for floods as heavy rainfall continued to batter many regions.
In addition to Paris, where the Seine river is expected to keep rising until Saturday, the other regions threatened are in the north and east of the country. Seven other departments in central France have been placed on alert for snow and ice.
Meteo France said that exceptionally high levels of rain this winter were to blame for the floods, with rainfall in Paris twice as high as normal.
The Seine reached 5.53 meters (over 18 feet) Thursday evening at the Austerlitz bridge in the east of the city. It was expected to keep rising, reaching 6.1 meters (20 feet) by Saturday, as high as the June 2016 flooding when authorities were forced to close several monuments, including the Louvre Museum.
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Paris police said in a statement Thursday 395 people have been evacuated protectively from their homes along the banks of the river in the Paris region. No major incident was observed.
The Louvre museum remains open for now but the lower level of the department of Islamic Art has been closed to the public until at least Sunday.
Two years ago, the Louvre was closed for four days due to flooding and 35,000 artworks were moved to safe zones.
“Since then, a large number of reserve collections has been packed to ensure their rapid evacuation in the event of flooding, and staff have also been trained,” the Louvre said in a statement.
The situation was far less severe than during the 1910 Great Flood, when the Seine water level rose to 8.62 meters (more than 28 feet), forcing many Parisians to evacuate their homes.