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Rain and melting snow produce floods
Strolling through Zell on Saturday. Photo: DPA

Rain and melting snow produce floods

Published: 09 Jan 2011 09:48 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Jan 2011 09:48 GMT+01:00

Thawing snow and ice, combined with rain over the weekend left towns along rivers in Germany underwater, with preparations being made across the country for more flooding.

An estimated 60 percent of the historic Rhineland town of Zell on the Mosel River was flooded, with fire services standing by with boats. A spokesman said, “The situation is stable, our headquarters is manned and we have two boat teams ready.”

And although floodwater levels started dropping on Saturday afternoon, it rose again on Sunday. Authorities estimated on Sunday morning that around 30 communities between Trier and Koblenz were flooded as the Mosel broke its banks.

In Mainz and Koblenz, car parks and roads right next to the Rhine River were closed off in preparation for flooding. In Koblenz gangplanks were erected along some streets to enable people to walk over the water.

The city park in Sömmerda, north of Erfurt in Thuringia was closed to the public and flooded in order to reduce pressure elsewhere. “We could not hold it back any longer,” said Michael Platzko, spokesman for the district authority.

Several bridges over the Unstrut River were closed off as the water no longer fitted under them.

A 50-year-old man died in Baden-Wüttemberg on Saturday when he fell out of his kayak in the Enz River near Pforzheim. A police spokesman said the flood situation meant he was unable to get back to his boat.

The situation in Brandenburg eased somewhat on Saturday after icebreakers fought their way through the Oder River to the Baltic Sea, smashing the ice to make way for the water to flow.

A spokesman for the flooding information centre in Frankfurt an der Oder said that although the water level was falling, he would not give the all-clear. Even though it had been broken into pieces, the ice could easily create a barrier and cause water levels to rise again, he warned.

Rain is expected across the country on Sunday while above-zero temperatures and thus the thaw, are set to continue.

DAPD/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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12:03 January 9, 2011 by kelhous
Doesn't the Oder drain to the Baltic, rather than the North Sea? Just sayin'.
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