PARIS (AFP) - Flooding in central Paris has swelled the Seine river to a level of 6m with a peak of up to 6.5m expected later, the Environment Ministry said on Friday (June 3).
"The high-water level in Paris is expected tonight at around 6.3m, perhaps 6.5m in a worst-case scenario. I should add that this is more of a plateau than a peak, since this level will remain relatively stable for the whole weekend before receding," the ministry said in a statement.
The peak is expected to beat the levels reached during floods in 1982, when the river rose 6.15m above its normal level. The record remains the 8.68m reached during devastating floods in 1910.
The ministry also said it was possible that some residents in areas near the Seine in western Paris could be evacuated if necessary.
At least 14 people have been killed across northern Europe in this week's floods, trapping people in their homes and forcing rescuers to row lifeboats down streets turned into rivers.
Meanwhile, the world-famous Musee d'Orsay in Paris will be closed until next Tuesday due to the flooding of the Seine river, it announced on Friday.
The museum, which houses a world-renowned collection of 19th-century and early 20th-century art, was shut on Thursday evening as concerns grew about the rising water levels.
Sitting alongside the river in a renovated train station, the museum is one of the highlights of Paris, welcoming some 3.4 million visitors last year.
The most-visited tourist spot in the city, the Louvre museum, which attracts some nine million visitors per year, was also closed on Friday to allow staff to move artworks stored in its underground vaults to higher floors.
Managers were set to decide later in the day when it would re-open.
The Museum of Decorative Arts, next door to the Louvre, remained open but also took measures to protect items stored in its basements.