Rivers in France, Germany burst their banks; floods kill 6
In France, authorities say areas along the Loing River, a tributary of the Seine River, are facing water levels unseen since 1910, when a massive flood swamped the French capital.
About 25,000 homes were without electricity because of floods in the Paris region and central France.
And it isn’t over more rain is forecast for the coming days, and authorities in Paris predict the Seine River won’t reach its peak until Friday.
France’s meteorological service said on Thursday that severe flood watches are in effect in two Paris-area regions: Loiret and Seine-et-Marne. Eight more regions, including three on the German border, face flood warnings as well.
Tourist boat cruises have been cancelled and several roads in and around the capital are under water. Days of heavy rains have caused exceptional delays to the French Open tennis tournament and may force it into a third week.
Authorities on Thursday shut down a suburban train line that runs alongside the Seine in central Paris, serving popular tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides plaza and the Orsay museum. Other subway lines in Paris are running normally despite the flooding.
In the Loire valley in central France, the renowned castles of Chambord and Azay-le-Rideau were closed to the public because of floods in their parks.
Fara Pelarek, 44-year-old Australian tourist visiting Paris, said she was “very surprised” to see the Seine so high.
“I remember walking down below (before) and it was very easy,” she said. “In a way, it’s kind of nature taking over.” The rains that have fallen across Western Europe this week have already killed six people, including an 86-year-old woman who died in her flooded home in Souppes-sur-Loing southeast of Paris, the French government said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, is promising continued help for flooded areas of southern Germany, where five people were killed amid floods that swept on Wednesday through the southern towns of Simbach am Inn and Triftern near the Austrian border.