The risk of flooding remains high in parts of Germany. The German Weather Service (DWD) continues to warn of continuous rain in several regions. In Windehausen (Nordhausen district) in northern Thuringia, the flood situation became so severe that the district of Heringen, which has almost 500 inhabitants, had to be evacuated on Christmas Day. “The situation is very threatening, I have never seen a picture like this in the Goldene Aue,” said the mayor of the city of Heringen, Matthias Marquardt (left), to the German Press Agency. By late evening, he estimated around 400 people had left their homes. “About 100 people remained in their homes,” reported the mayor. Not all buildings in the district are threatened by flooding.
The water was up to a meter high in some places. The mayor described the critical situation as there was no electricity, no access and no landline telephony. In addition, the toilets no longer worked due to the lack of drains.
Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Left) wrote on Monday on X (formerly Twitter): “I wish those affected a lot of strength and hopefully a speedy return to their own four walls.” Mayor Marquardt expects the flood situation in Windehausen to last for several more days. “It’s like a bathtub that’s overflowing.” The residents have been brought to safety with wheel loaders and civil protection vehicles since Monday afternoon. They were taken to collection points and from there by bus to a gym in Heringen. Many residents were staying with family members.
The situation in North Rhine-Westphalia is tense
The situation also remains tense in other areas. In many parts of North Rhine-Westphalia Environment Minister Oliver Krischer continued to urge great caution. “We have a tense flood situation in North Rhine-Westphalia,” said the Green politician on Christmas Day in Oberhausen, where he found out about the situation on the Ruhr dike. There is no reason to give the all-clear – “quite the opposite.” Given further rainfall, it is expected that the situation will initially remain tense.
According to data from the State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (Lanuv) from Monday afternoon (as of 3 p.m.), the Weser tributaries in the eastern part of the country remain particularly badly affected: the highest warning threshold was exceeded at that time at six measuring stations, four of them directly in North Rhine-Westphalia. The warning level indicates that built-up areas could be at greater risk of flooding. The local authorities decide on the necessary measures. According to Lanuv, the second highest warning level, which indicates the risk of flooding of individual built-up properties or cellars, was exceeded at 20 water gauges in North Rhine-Westphalia on the afternoon of Christmas Day. This included, among other things, the catchment areas of Lippe, Ems and Ruhr. The first warning threshold, which indicates the risk that agricultural and forestry areas could be flooded, was exceeded at 36 measuring stations. The water levels on the Rhine and Weser are not taken into account in the count.
Krischer said on Monday that the Ruhr dike in Oberhausen, which had shown critical weak points, had been stabilized according to the current status. The Environment Minister urged people to remain vigilant, inform themselves about the situation and stay away from water and dikes. “It’s unpredictable,” said Krischer.
Storm warning for the Harz region, rail traffic affected
In many regions Lower Saxony Authorities and emergency services are also required. Hundreds of volunteers from the volunteer fire department are deployed in the Northeim district and the Harz region, among others, to build dikes with sandbags and protect residential areas from flooding. Due to the ongoing rainfall, the Lower Saxony State Office for Water Management, Coasts and Nature Conservation (NLWKN) expects the water levels on the Aller, Leine, Oker and their tributaries as well as the Hase to rise again on Tuesday night. The flood situation on the Weser will also continue to worsen, according to the NLWKN flood report from Monday afternoon. The peak values have not yet been reached. At some levels there could even be peaks.
“The soils are very saturated due to the rainfall of the previous weeks, so that the rainfall is directly leading to a worsening of the flood situation,” said Marlena Heunecke, head of the NLWKN flood forecast center. The German Weather Service (DWD) issued a severe weather warning for the Harz. By midday on Tuesday, rainfall amounts of between 50 and 80 liters per square meter are expected, and in so-called storage areas – i.e. on the edge of the mountains – even 90 liters per square meter.
Rail traffic on the route between Hanover and Magdeburg is expected to be affected until Wednesday (December 27th). IC trains would be rerouted in both directions and would be delayed by around 30 minutes, Deutsche Bahn announced on its website. The trains could also not stop in Peine, Braunschweig main station and Helmstedt. The background is therefore track erosion on the route from Magdeburg to Helmstedt. ICE trains between Berlin and Hanover, which are scheduled to stop in Magdeburg and Braunschweig, are also delayed by 30 minutes due to the weather-related problem. Instead of stopping in Braunschweig, they stop at Wolfsburg main station.
Storm surge warning for German North Sea coast lifted
The flood situation in Hamburg and sharing Schleswig-Holsteins However, things remained largely relaxed on Christmas Day. For Hamburg, the value of 1.63 meters above the mean high water (MHW) was exceeded in St. Pauli on the Elbe in the afternoon, as the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) announced in the evening. Measurements of 1.50 meters or more are considered storm surges. The storm surge limit was also exceeded for Geesthacht.
The storm surge warning for the German North Sea coast was lifted on Monday afternoon at 3:11 p.m. Parts of the Hamburg fish market were still slightly flooded, but this time significantly less than last. The German Weather Service (DWD) predicted thickening clouds and increasing rain coming from the Elbe for Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein on Tuesday night, which would later turn into showers.
The situation in Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria is easing
The flood situation remained tense Saxony-Anhalt. On the other hand, the situation on the rivers and streams eased Rhineland-Palatinate According to the flood control center, this is increasing. According to the flood forecast center, water levels on the Upper Rhine up to and including Worms are already falling again. According to information, the water level on the Moselle in Trier reached its highest level of 6.14 meters on Monday night. Since then, falling values have been measured there.
Also the flood situation in Bayern has calmed down a bit. “We will continue to monitor this, but since there is no significant rainfall input, it is relatively predictable how the flood waves will unfold,” said a spokesman for the Flood Intelligence Service (HND). Franconia and Eastern Bavaria were particularly affected by the floods. There were isolated missions on Christmas Eve and the night of Christmas Day. In Nabburg (Schwandorf district) a canoeist capsized on the Naab. He was able to save himself from the river.
The German Weather Service continues to warn of continuous rain in several regions. High quantities are still expected, particularly in the western low mountain ranges – from the Bergisches Land to the Weserbergland – and in the Upper Harz, according to a DWD severe weather warning from Monday morning. A strong thaw is also continuing in the Erzgebirge. The severe weather warning applied to parts of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saxony. Flooding is expected along streams and rivers. In addition to floods, landslides could also occur. The majority of the country remains under the influence of mild and very humid air masses. The continuous rain will continue in some cases until Tuesday.