Floodwaters threaten Paris, closing roads, tunnels, cellars

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Floodwaters threaten Paris, closing roads, tunnels, cellars
A woman watches the flooded banks of river Seine in Paris, Thursday, Jan.25, 2018. Rivers across France kept swelling as more rain hit the country Thursday, with 15 departments across the country remaining on alert for floods. In addition to Paris, where the Seine river is expected to keep rising until Saturday, the other regions threatened are in the north and east of the country. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — Paris authorities have closed several tunnels, parks, and the bottom floor of the Louvre Museum as the Seine River swells and the city braces for floods.

Exceptionally heavy rains have forced evacuations from homes elsewhere on the Seine after it and other French rivers burst their banks.

The Seine reached 5.53 meters (over 18 feet) Thursday evening at the Austerlitz bridge in eastern Paris. It was expected to keep rising, reaching a peak above 6 meters (20 feet) over the weekend.

Meteorological authorities say rainfall in Paris has been twice as high as normal.

The lower level of the Louvre is closed to the public until at least Sunday, but the museum did not have plans to move artworks, as it was forced to do during exceptional flooding in 2016.