High water reaches Brandenburg early

Floodwaters from Poland have arrived in eastern Germany earlier than expected, hitting the second-highest warning level and rising, officials said on Wednesday morning.

High water reaches Brandenburg early
The measuring station in Ratzdorf between Tuesday and Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Following floods upriver, the Oder River and its tributary the Neiße in the state of Brandenburg began swelling on Monday. By 8 am on Wednesday, the high water alert centre in Frankfurt an der Oder reported that river levels had increased some 10 hours before expected.

The highest alert level could be breached by Thursday, the centre said.

Safety protocol for the current level dictates that dikes, watercourses and dams must be observed constantly for damage.

Ratzdorf, a town on the Oder river near the Polish border is in a particularly critical position, Brandenburg’s Environment Ministry officials said. There water levels increased by 60 centimetres in just 24 hours by early Wednesday, and could reach the highest warning level on Thursday morning, when flooding will become a serious danger.

But any flooding will not be as severe as the devastating high waters of 1997, because they will be short-lived, the ministry predicted.

Many regions in neighbouring Poland have been evacuated following more than a dozen deaths due to flooding. The head of the Brandenburg environmental authority Matthias Freude told broadcaster ARD on Tuesday that the coming days will “with certainty not be easy” in the state.

Over the weekend in Poland waters reportedly rose by a metre in just 24 hours as streets and homes in several cities flooded. On Saturday a provisional dam broke in Wrocław.

Meanwhile dikes along the Vistula River, which goes through the Polish capital Warsaw, have burst. Police in the country reported on Tuesday that at least 14 people have been killed by the floods.

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What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

Parts of Germany will see another heatwave this week as temperatures soar.

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

The German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that the mercury will climb in some regions of to around 34C this week. 

“After low pressure ‘Karin’ gave parts of Germany rain, sometimes in large quantities, high pressure ‘Piet’ is now back in pole position,” said meteorologist Lars Kirchhübel of the DWD.

This high pressure zone will dominate the weather in large parts of western and central Europe over the coming days, the weather expert said, adding that it will reach Germany too. 

On Monday temperatures remained fairly cool across the country after a weekend of showers, but they are set to climb over the course of the week, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters predict it could reach 32C in Stuttgart and 33C in Cologne on Thursday. Locally, temperatures could reach 34C. 

However, from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Erzgebirge mountains and southeast Bavaria, denser clouds and some showers are to be expected. This is due to a high-level low pressure system over the Balkan region, according to forecasters. Short showers are also possible in the Black Forest.

“In most of the rest of the country, high ‘Piet’ will be able to hold its ground,” said Kirchhübel.

READ ALSO: Heavy rain in Bavaria swells rivers, but flooding avoided

At the end of the week, thunderstorms are forecast but temperatures are expected to remain high. 

August in Germany ‘too dry’

According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, August as a whole – apart from a few areas in eastern Germany – will be too dry compared to the multi-year average.

The Black Forest, the High Rhine and the Allgäu to the Bavarian Forest, however, are not expected to have any major problems due to the high rainfall of the past few days.

“Looking at Rhineland-Palatinate, the southern half of Hesse, the western half of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Franconia shows a different picture,” said Kirchhübel. In the last 30 days, only about 10 percent of the usual level of precipitation fell in some places.

“At some stations, no precipitation at all has been measured in August,” added Kirchhübel, referencing Würzburg as an example.

Rainfall at the weekend caused the water in the Rhine river to rise slightly. In Emmerich, the water level reached a positive value again after the historic low of the past few days: in the morning, it showed three centimetres – an increase of six centimetres compared to the previous day.

The water level also rose by several centimetres at the other measuring points in North Rhine-Westphalia: in Cologne, the level rose to 80cm and in Düsseldorf to 38cm.

READ ALSO: Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

Despite this encouraging trend, the Waterways and Shipping Authority said it did not expect a huge improvement in water levels in the foreseeable future due to more hot weather coming.