Heavy Rain Drenches Swaths Of France, Disrupts French Open

People wait under umbrella as rain delays matches at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Tuesday, May 31, 2016 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

People wait under umbrella as rain delays matches at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Tuesday, May 31, 2016 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS — Heavy rain drenched parts of France on Tuesday, prompting flood warnings near the English Channel, causing more delays at the French Open and soaking tourists in Paris.

Floods or heavy rain were forecast for about a quarter of the country Tuesday, from Normandy in the west to Burgundy southeast of Paris.

Rescue workers evacuated homes or ordered people to higher floors in the Pas-de-Calais region in the far north as rivers rose more than a meter (3 feet) in some spots, according to the local administration.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve urged people to exercise the "greatest caution." He said that rescue services were deployed a total of 4,500 times overnight and Tuesday morning to help people affected by rising water. No casualties were reported.

The national meteorological service, Meteo France, issued a warning of possible exceptionally dangerous floods in the Loiret region, south of Paris.

It has been raining for several days. During a sudden storm Saturday, a lightning bolt struck a children's birthday party at a Paris park. Five people remain hospitalized.

All matches at the French Open were cancelled Monday, the first all-day shutdown in 16 years. Matches got underway on Tuesday, but play was soon disrupted again by rain.

Canadian tourist Helene Gazaille said she had been offered a trip to Paris to celebrate her 50th birthday and was determined to make the trip good — even if that meant stuffing plastic bags into her sneakers in the morning and using a hair dryer to dry them out at night.

Others like Tang Jiru, a 26-year-old Chinese groom, looked on the bright side of the gray weather.

He was posing for photos with his fiancé in the Trocadero's Warsaw fountains, across from the Eiffel Tower, said he was pleased despite — or maybe even because of — the driving rain.

"The weather, it's like blue, blue means romantic," he said, his white tie-tuxedo-and-waistcoat combo becoming increasingly wet as his 27-year-old fiancé, Liu Yuan Yuan, smiled in her rain-sodden wedding dress.

"Every time you take a photo it's a sunny day but it's a rainy day, (so) oh it's special!" said Tang, who is getting married in September in Shanghai and had flown to Paris for the express purpose of taking romantic photos.

By ANGELA CHARLTON and MSTYSLAV CHERNOV - May. 31, 2016 11:28 AM EDTAP

 
 

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