Heavy rain threatens Saxony with new flooding

The eastern German state of Saxony faced the renewed threat of flooding on Monday, as heavy rains caused rivers in the region to swell for the second time in just over a week.

Heavy rain threatens Saxony with new flooding
The Elbe River covers a bicycle path near Dresden's city centre. Photo: DPA

As clean-up efforts from the last floods continued, water levels began to rise in the northern and eastern parts of the state, including the Saxon capital Dresden, a spokesperson for the LHWZ state high water authority said.

More than 40 litres of rain per square metre fell overnight, straining river banks and flooding numerous cellars along the Elbe, Spree, Elster and Neiße rivers. Heavy rainfall was expected to continue through Monday and Tuesday, possibly forcing the authorities to increase high water warning levels, the LHWZ said.

A mother and two children had to be rescued from rising waters in Seifhennersdorf, which is in Görlitz county, the same area recently hit by Neiße River flooding when a Polish dam broke upriver. Seventeen fire brigades were sent to the area to attend to flooded streets and cellars after the river quickly breached its banks.

Along the Elbe River in Dresden fire fighters worked to remove trees felled in the deluge. The districts of Eschdorf and Schullwitz were among the worst hit by flooding, which filled cellars and streets, meanwhile lightning struck the roof of one apartment building. But the fire was quickly quelled by the heavy rain, authorities said.

The A17 motorway from Dresden to the Czech Republic was temporarily closed due to flooding.

The situation was also tense for tributaries of the Elbe River, with flood warnings reaching their highest levels on the Kirnitzsch River on Monday morning.

Meanwhile authorities reported low-level river warnings in northwestern Brandenburg, which also saw some flooding last week. The Dömnitz River gauges near Pritzwalk reportedly rose by almost half a metre in just 12 hours.

Residents in both states have been asked to observe river gauge levels and take precautions against flooding.

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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.