Rivers are swelling, dikes are giving way: after days of continuous rain, many regions in Germany are at risk of flooding. The German Weather Service (DWD) warned of the risk of flooding on many rivers and streams on Christmas Eve. The rain is likely to last until Monday, especially in the north-west and west of many low mountain ranges.
In some regions, 100 to 150 liters of rain per square meter could fall within 48 to 96 hours, and in some places even more, said the DWD in Offenbach. The risk of flooding is increased by sometimes strong thaws, for example in the Ore Mountains.
Floods: warning level three in Lower Saxony
In Lower Saxony Level 30 reached the third of four warning levels early on Sunday morning, as the state agency for water management, coastal and nature conservation announced. The rivers Weser, Aller, Leine and Oker, among others, exceeded this threshold. At level three, flooding of properties and larger areas, as well as streets and basements, is possible. In Hanover, the fire brigade was in constant use due to the rain and strong gusts of wind. A lot of water damage had been reported in buildings, and trees also had to be removed, the fire department announced on Sunday morning.
In Rodenberg in the Schaumburg district of Lower Saxony, fire departments and volunteers protected areas with sandbags. The mayor of the municipality, Thomas Wolf, reported on Sunday morning that the floodwaters were flowing over the weir. Helpers ran from house to house to warn residents. There hasn’t been a flood like this in the community for 25 years. Emergency services were in constant use, and in many places attempts were made to combat the masses of water with sandbags.
NRW: Woman rescued from her car
In parts of North Rhine-Westphalia Authorities prepared for flooding. In Oberhausen, for example, a weakened dike on the Ruhr was causing concern, as the fire department announced. In a suburb of Münster on Saturday, the fire department rescued a woman from her car that had gotten into the flooded area of the Werse, a tributary of the Ems. In the Ruhr area, the constant rain caused problems for the railway: In Herdecke, tracks on the route between Dortmund and Hagen were washed out. The Düsseldorf district government reported on Sunday about the operation on the Ruhr dike in Oberhausen, which showed “critical weak points”. Supported by the Duisburg fire department and the THW, extensive measures to secure the dike have been initiated since Friday.
The second highest warning level, which indicates the risk of flooding of individual built-up properties or cellars, was exceeded at 15 measuring stations. This included, among other things, the catchment areas of Lippe, Ems and Ruhr. The first warning threshold was exceeded at 30 measuring stations, which indicates the risk that agricultural and forestry areas could be flooded. The water levels on the Rhine and Weser are not taken into account in the count.
In Saxony-Anhalt the flood forecast center issued warnings for Mulde, Aller and Havel. Alert levels 1 and 2 were exceeded at several measuring points in the country, and alert level 3 was exceeded in some places. This level was also reached at several levels in parts of Saxony – for example in Chemnitz.
Bavaria: Roads closed due to flooding – Zugspitzbahn “out of service”
In Bayern In some districts, reporting level was 3, in the Coburg and Kulmbach districts even reporting level 4 was in place in some places. Franconia and eastern Bavaria were particularly affected. On Sunday night, some cellars were already full and several streets were closed due to flooding. On Saturday, near Heustreu in the Rhön-Grabfeld district, the fire department rescued a 20-year-old who had driven her car into a closed, flooded street, the police said.
In parts of Bavaria, strong winds affected skiing on Christmas Eve. The Bavarian Zugspitzbahn reported “out of service” on its homepage for the cable car to Germany’s highest mountain. There was also no lift on Zugspitzplatt on Sunday. However, the cog railway to the Zugspitze was in operation and did not run on Saturday. At the Alpspitze near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the avalanche commission first had to check the situation and clear the slopes. In many places on Sunday there was still a significant risk of avalanches above 1,500 meters.