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Water levels decrease again after Paris flooding peaks


    View of the flooded banks of the river Seine in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Friday.

PARIS >> French authorities say the water level of the Seine river in Paris started to decrease after reaching its peak overnight, the highest in nearly 35 years.

But authorities warned it could take up to ten days for the river to come back to its normal levels after the flooding that swelled the river to about 4.5 meters (15 feet) above average levels in Paris.

Nearly a week of heavy rain has led to serious flooding across parts of France, Germany, Romania and Belgium, leaving 16 people dead and others missing.

French energy company Enedis said over 17,000 homes were still without electricity in the Paris region and central France.

Authorities have shut the Louvre museum, the national library, the Orsay museum and the Grand Palais, Paris’ striking glass-and-steel topped exhibition center.

The Louvre, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” said it won’t reopen until Wednesday. Curators were scrambling to move some 250,000 artworks from basement storage areas at risk of flooding to safer areas upstairs.

The Orsay Museum, known for its impressionist art, closed through the weekend.

Several railway stations shut down in Paris city center and drivers experienced traffic problems in and around the French capital because of flooded roads.

France’s meteorological service said that high flood alerts remained in effect in 13 regions, mostly in central France, including Paris.

Although the rain has tapered off in some areas, possible floods were expected over the weekend downstream along the Seine river, in the region of Normandy in western France.

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