Heavy Rains and Flooding Have Parisians Evacuating

Weeks of heavy rainfall in Paris have led to flooding throughout the historic city. About 1,500 people have been evacuated from their homes on the outskirts of the city, while 1,900 homes remain without electricity.

The Seine river rose to almost 6 meters (over 19.5 feet) on Monday. The famous Zouave statue on the Alma bridge in Paris has long served as a measurement of the Seine; this weekend the water reached his hips. The largest flood recorded in Paris was in 1910, when the water reached the statue’s chin.

French police have reported that at least 252 towns have been damaged from the water. Meteo France — the country’s national weather service — cites the cause of the flooding as due to the heaviest December-January rainfall in 50 years.

The area is used to frequent rainfall during January and surrounding months, but the past few years have caused more flooding than usual. In 2016, the river rose to 6.1 meters (about 20 feet), marking it the worst flooding since 1982. Florence Habets, senior researcher at the C.N.R.S., France’s national center for scientific research, told the New York Times that flooding in Paris might become the new normal.

“Because of climate change, we can expect floods in the Seine basin to be at least as frequent as they are right now,” said Habets. “No matter what we say, the more we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the more we reduce our impact on droughts and floods.”

Researchers have also predicted that 2018 could see the most natural disasters in global history. Just recently California experienced devastating mudslides that killed at least 20 people.

See our gallery below for images of the flooding (photos by Anne-Marie Codur).

Zoe Licata (Boston, Massachusetts)

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