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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, August 20, 2018

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Worst rainfall in France in half a century, floods peak

Worst rains in 50 years

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PARIS, France - As the national weather service in France declared that over the past two months, the country had witnessed its worst rains in 50 years, floodwaters in Paris threatened towns downstream.

The rain-engorged River Seine was swollen on Monday, and engulfed the romantic quays in Paris, blanketing gardens and roads, halting riverboat cruises and threatening towns along the river.

Concerns of floods swallowing up parts of the areas through Normandy towards the English Channel - that are along the Seine - were high as the floodwaters reached a peak in Paris.

Meteo France, the national weather service Meteo France said that January has seen nearly double normal rainfall nationwide.

Further, early on Monday, the flood monitoring agency Vigicrues said the water levels in Paris hit a maximum height of 5.84 meters on the Austerlitz scale.

While the height is still well below record levels of 8.62 meters in 1910, it was still several meters above normal levels of about 1.5 meters on the Austerlitz scale.

Authorities warned that the waters are expected to stay unusually high for weeks, affecting everything from tourism to normal life.

As floodwaters lap the underside of historic bridges, treetops and lampposts - authorities have already closed the riverside train stations along the line that serves Versailles and even the famous "bateaux mouches" riverboats that is popular amongst tourists that want to cruise past Paris sites.

The last time Paris witnessed heavy flooding was in 2016, but other towns on the surging Seine have experienced much worse.

In a statement, Mayor Jean-Paul Michel said that residents are used to seasonal floods, but this one is exceptionally long-lasting.

Commenting on the flood, that is now in its third week, Michel said, "So it goes on and on, and we think it's going to carry on for (another) long week before the flood starts subsiding.”

On Monday, weather officials said that the floods have caused damage in 242 towns along the river and tributaries already.

Meanwhile, more warnings issued last week remain in place as the high waters move downstream.

 

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