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Rivers still rise - and more rain and snow is forecast

Seine in Paris expected to peak at weekend, while river traffic resumes on Rhine south of Strasbourg

Rivers continue to rise across France, with 15 departments, mainly in the northeast, on orange flood alerts - and there is little respite in store, with more rain forecast in the next 24 hours.

National forecaster Meteo-France has issued orange flood alerts for rivers in the Aube, Doubs, Jura, Marne, Haute-Marne, Meuse, Saône-et-Loire, Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Yonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne and Val-d' Oise.

The Puy-de-Dôme, Loire, Haute-Loire and Cantal, meanwhile, are on the second-highest alert level for snow and ice.

The Seine in Paris had reached 5.4m at 6am on Thursday. It is expected to peak at around 6.2m on Saturday. In June 2016, it reached 6.1m above its normal levels of between 1m and 2m.

Authorities in the city have set up a crisis centre to monitor the situation and deal with emergencies as they arise, while museums along the river bank are also taking action. Parts of the Louvre have been closed to the public so works of art can be moved to safer locations.

The Islamic Art gallery, which is housed in the lower levels of the museum, will remain off limits until at least Sunday.

The Musee d'Orsay and the Orangerie have cancelled evening opening on Thursday.

The river in the city has been closed to tour boats, river taxis and other river traffic for several days, while RER C rail services along the river have been suspended in the central section - taking in Saint-Michel Notre-Dame, Musée d'Orsay, Invalides, Pont de l'Alma, Champ de Mars, Avenue du Président Kennedy and Boulainvilliers stations - until January 31 at the earliest.

Voies navigables de France, which is responsible for all river traffic in the country, banned navigation on the entire upstream Seine up to and including Paris, on the canals of the Marne, part of the Saône and Moselle. The Rhine, meanwhile, reopened on Wednesday south of Strasbourg.

School transport has been cancelled in 12 villages in the eastern Jura department due to floods in the area. Jura and Doubs were briefly placed on red flood alert on Monday after the river Loue overflowed. Local authorities confirmed that the waters are receding "slowly".

The latest weather system is spreading to the west of the Auvergne, Meteo-France said. It will bring heavy rain and snow from 1,500m upwards, with snow expected as low as 1,000m in the parts of the Massif Central, including all of the Auvergne, the Loire and Monts du Lyonnais.

The rain and snow is expected to continue in the eastern half of the Massif Central into Friday. Up to 40cm of snow is expected in the Haute-Loire, Monts du Cantal, and Sancy, Forez.

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