A nationwide thaw has caused many waterways to swell. Of particular concern are the water levels along the Rhine near Koblenz, which could reach eight metres and cause flooding.
“The last time for that was back in 2001,” said a local official, explaining that a level of 7.20 metres would flood the point known as the Deutsches Eck where the Mosel meets the Rhine.
With the Rhine’s water levels expected to peak only at the start of next week, the city’s fire brigade is already preparing for parts of the Koblenz old town to be submerged. The flooding also threatens the construction site of a national garden show to be held there.
Water levels on the Mosel could rise to 10 metres this weekend, according to officials. With widespread house flooding expected at nine metres, communities have begun preparing sandbags and pumps.
People at the other end of the country were also bracing themselves for flooding, as water levels along the Oder River continued to rise. Polish officials were attempting to clear a 40-kilometre blockage between Stettin and Swinemünde with 13 icebreakers.
Water levels in Brandenburg along the Oder had reached the highest flooding alert levels by early Friday. However, officials in the eastern state said they were not yet preparing an evacuation of the region.
“Our priority remains the dyke,” said county administrator Gernot Schmidt, adding they had prepared 25,000 sandbags to reinforce it.
Other regions in Germany were also expecting flooding this weekend.
In Saxony-Anhalt several smaller rivers including the Unstrut, Bode, Ilse, Aller, Mulde and Weiße Elster were threatening to burst their banks. Officials in Lower Saxony expected the Weser to spill over onto farmland. And in Baden-Württemberg waters along the Necker, Tauber and parts of the Danube were also expected to rise substantially.