France Floods – 1 More Dead, Levels of the Seine Rise in Paris

Another flood related death has been reported in France, bringing the total number of fatalities to three since 29 May, 2016.

The flood situation in the previously affected areas in France appears to have eased since yesterday. The red alert (highest level) flood warnings for the departments of Seine-et-Marne and Loiret have been downgraded to orange (3rd level).

However, many in the country’s capital, including government departments, face an anxious wait as levels of the Seine continue to rise. Levels have risen by around 20cm in the last 12 hours. Authorities predict that levels will peak some time today, Friday 03 June, 2016.

As of 10:00 local time, 03 June, orange level flood warnings were in place for the following departments in France: Indre-et-Loire, Val-D’oise, Yvelines, Essonne, Paris-et-Petite-Couronne, Seine-et-Marne, Loiret, Loir-et-Cher, Cher, Indre.

Paris

Vigicrues, the flood and river level monitoring service in France, say that levels of the Seine in Paris are expected to peak some time during the afternoon of Friday 03 June. Levels are predicted to be between 5.8 and 6.2 metres.

Precautions have been taken by authorities to limit flood damage in central Paris, according to Bernard Cazeneuve, French Minister of Interior.

At 11:00 local time today, the level of the Seine at Paris Austerlitz was at 5.64 metres, up from 5.42 metres recorded 11 hours earlier. In recent times (post 1910 floods) the highest level recorded there was in 1982, when the river reached 6.15 metres.

Levels of the Seine River at Austerlitz, Paris, May / June 2013. Image: Vigicrues
Levels of the Seine River at Austerlitz, Paris, May / June 2016 Image: Vigicrues

The ministry of the interior says that red alert level is set at 6.50 metres, which would result in major consequences for the city.

The ministry said earlier today that the Prime Minister has initiated phase 2 of the continuity plan for governmental work (PCTG). The PCTG includes evacuations plans of 51 sensitive sites located near the Seine, should river levels continue to rise.

The famous art galleries of the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay have closed their doors today in order to move artworks from vulnerable locations.

Emergency Rescues

The Minister of Interior has thanked the 3,000 firefighters, 250 soldiers of the Civil Security and all state employees engaged in flood rescues and prevention work over the last 5 days. He also noted that emergency teams had carried out 16,000 operations involving the rescue or evacuation of 20,000 people. As many as 7,600 people have been evacuated in the department of Seine-et-Marne, as of 03 June.

President Francois Hollande said that a state of “natural catastrophe” would be declared soon, most likely when the cabinet meets next week.

Death Toll Rises to Three

The ministry of the interior in France have confirmed another flood-related death, bringing the total to 3 since the floods began on 29 May.

Yesterday a 74 year old man on after he was swept away in a swollen river in Évry-Grégy-sur-Yerre, Seine-et-Marne. The man is believed to have been riding a horse at the time of the incident. The horse is thought ot have survived unharmed.

A woman died in the flooding in Seine-et-Marne department on 01 June 2016. Earlier a young child died in a flooded basement of a house in the village of Saint-Martin-d’Ordon, Yonne Department, after heavy rain on Sunday 29 May 2016.

French Prime Minister visits the flood hit town of Nemours, 02 June 2016. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister, France
French Prime Minister visits the flood hit town of Nemours, 02 June 2016. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister, France

Rainfall

Meteo France said yesterday that May 2016 was the wettest since 1959 in Île-de-France, Burgundy, Picardy and the Centre and on average, spring 2016 was the wettest in the past 50 years.

Over two and half times the normal amount of rain fell in Île-de-France in May 2016, making it the second wettest month recorded. Only December 1999 saw more rain.

Between 29 and 31 May, areas in Île-de-France and the Centre recorded between 80 and 100 mm of rain, which is the equivalent of 3 months of rain. As reported by FloodList yesterday, during a 24 hour period between 30 and 31 May, 66 mm fell in Trappes, 65.2 mm in Villacoublay and 63.4 mm in Orleans.

Belgium

Belgium has also endured heavy rain over the last 5 days, with flooding reported in several areas across the country, including northern Antwerp and the west of Flanders, and areas around Limburg and Liege.
One man has been reported missing in floods in Harsin in the Belgian province of Luxembourg after the Wamme River overflowed, causing damage in several nearby villages.

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Flood summary

Last updated: July 4, 2016
Event
France Floods - May to June 2016
Date
May 28 to June 4, 2016
Type
Inland flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
Heavy rain from 29 May caused rivers to overflow and major flooding in Seine-et-Marne and Loiret departments and 8 other departments serious flood damage.

Locations

A - Saint-Martin-d’Ordon, Yonne Department
B - Nemours, Seine-et-Marne
C - Souppes sur Loing, Seine-et-Marne

Magnitude

River level
3.99 metres
Loing River at Episy - June 1 to June 1, 2016
River level
4.63 metres
Loing River at Nemours - June 1 to June 1, 2016

Damages

Evacuated
20,000
Fatalities
4 people
Total damage assessment
1.4 billion
As estimated by Association Française de l’assurance (AFA)