Brandenburg still fighting off floodwaters

Hundreds of rescue workers continued to fight flooding in eastern Germany on Thursday, stacking sandbags and urging thousands of residents to evacuate their homes in the state of Brandenburg.

Brandenburg still fighting off floodwaters
Photo: DPA

Rescuers lined the banks of the Schwarze Elster, Pulsnitz, and Röder rivers in the southern part of the state, working to secure their banks.

On Wednesday evening, an emergency task force in the city of Herzberg ordered that 460,000 sandbags be placed along river banks, with rescuers managing to fill and place about 300,000 by Thursday morning.

The task force also decided to evacuate the Elsterwerde hospital as a precautionary measure. More than 100 patients were transferred to clinics nearby in a complicated logistics challenge involving both helicopters and ambulances, authorities said.

Meanwhile 2,700 other people in Elsterwerde’s city centre were subject to a voluntary evacuation. An elementary school on higher ground was set up to accommodate about 500 evacuees.

Because the evacuation was voluntary, authorities said they had no concrete figures on the number of people who complied.

Meanwhile the flood situation in surrounding areas remained tense.

Some 300 fire fighters and residents worked feverishly through the night to fortify an endangered dyke in Saathain from the rising waters of the Schwarze Elster River.

Dykes in the region have held up so far, Elsterwerda Mayor Dieter Herrchen told broadcaster RBB early in the morning, but added it was too early to give the all-clear signal.

Schools and streets in many southern Brandenburg towns remained closed on Thursday morning.

In several locations water gauges remained at level four, the highest possible warning.


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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.