Roads, train stations and buildings in central Paris are under water. Weeks of heavy rain have pushed the river Seine over its banks, and it’s still rising.
The river is expected to crest on Saturday more than four meters above normal. Hundreds of people have been evacuated as a precaution.
CGTN’s Elena Casas has more.
A statue on the Pont de l’Alma bridge is the traditional way Parisians measure the level of the Seine – on a normal day, its feet would be out of the water. Now, it’s knee deep.
That’s bad news for businesses along the river – with all boat traffic banned for a week, and cafes and restaurants on the towpath having to close.
“We’ve been shut for a week,” said restaurant owner Arnaud Seite. “In 2016, we had to close for ten days. Now I’m really worried since it looks like we could be closed for as many as 20 days this time.”
In June 2016, four people were killed and 1.4 billion euros worth of damage incurred when the river rose to 6.1 meters. It’s now expected to hit that level again this weekend.
That would still be nowhere near the highest level on record. That was the flood of the century in 1910, when the river reached over eight meters.
For Parisians, it might feel like extreme weather events are becoming more common, but meteorologists warn against drawing a direct link with climate change.
“We can’t say that this sort of event is necessarily going to happen more often in the future,” said meteorologist Patrick Galois of Meteo France. “It’s just an aspect of the climate–sometimes we have very wet winters and sometimes colder, drier ones like last year. So it’s the natural unpredictability of the climate that causes this to happen, just as it has in the past.”
Scientists do say a big flood is inevitable here sooner or later – one on the scale of 1910 would mean evacuating half a million people, and cost at least 4 billion euros.
In central Paris, the towpath is flooded and the roads and the railway lines along the river have had to be closed, making it hard for commuters to get in and out of town. It has, at least for now, stopped raining–but the water is still rising.