Paris Is Flooding

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Y’know that nursery rhyme that goes, “London Bridge is falling down?” Well, here’s a new one: “The Eiffel Tower is flooding now.” That’s right, folks. The Seine River in Paris is flooding big time.


On Tuesday, the City of Paris issued an orange alert—the second-highest flood warning—as the Seine River swelled to near-unprecedented levels. The river’s been slowly rising since the beginning of this year because of an influx of water from rainfall upstream. Now, the river is about 10 feet higher than it usually is, and it’s not finished rising, according to The Local. The city isn’t alone in its flood problems, either. The rains have left 15 departments across France in an orange alert.

The swelling Seine River inches closer to a bridge in Paris. Photo: AP
The swelling Seine River inches closer to a bridge in Paris. Photo: AP

The Seine River flows right along the iconic Eiffel Tower, as well as Notre Dame, and the historic Louvre Museum. French authorities are worried the flooding could even reach the city’s actual bridges. (Maybe that should be the new nursery rhyme.) Art museums Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay are preparing to move art out of storage in case the flooding reaches them, reports The Guardian.

“We will implement our flood risk prevention plan when the Seine reaches 5.08 meters (16.67 feet),” said an unnamed Louvre official to The Guardian.

A flooded public park in Paris. Photo: AP
A flooded public park in Paris. Photo: AP

City streets and rail lines are all screwed up, too. Seven stations are closed, and the city expects them to stay that way until Friday, at least. Roads along the riverbank are also closed off to pedestrians. And, of course, river traffic ain’t happening right now.


Now, this flooding is nothing compared to the great flood that hit Paris in 1910; that one left the city underwater for two months and killed five people. Still, the current situation feels eerily similar.

1910 flood in Paris. Photo Courtesy of National Library of France
1910 flood in Paris. Photo Courtesy of National Library of France

The rain in Paris has been five times worse is usual for January, reports The Local. And a study from earlier this month predicts river flooding is going to get worse in the next 25 years due to the ways climate change will alter rainfall patterns.

Climate change really is going to suck.


Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

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Dense non aqueous phase liquid

A conversation heard at Davos, Switzerland:

Macron: Is anyone here a hydrologist?

Hydrogeologist: I’m a hydrogeologist.

Macron: No fuckwad, I said a hydrologist. Surface water flooding not groundwater. Jesus Christ!

Here’s an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) review of risk management report titled:

Policies: Seine Basin, Île-de-France: Resilience to Major Floods

The report was prepared in 2014 and is kind of prescient. The gist below:


While the possibility of a major flood of the Seine River may initially seem remote, it comes back regularly and arouses public attention as was the case during the spring of 2013 when floods took place upstream of the Seine River basin. Even though the flooding did not cause any major damage, it reopened the question of risk management and the region’s vulnerability to flooding.

Bullet Point One:

Despite investments in protection, increasing urban development and the interdependence of critical infrastructures have accentuated vulnerability

Bullet Point Two:

A major Seine flood would today have important potential impacts on wellbeing, and on the activities of the government and businesses

Bullet Point Three:

The macro-economic impact of a major shock could be significant in terms of GDP, employment and public finances

And finally the Seine River basin and floodplain map from the above link: