• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Drought chokes shipping, sparks forest fire

The Local · 22 Nov 2011, 16:20

Published: 22 Nov 2011 16:20 GMT+01:00

The current water level of the Rhine is averaging 1.5 metres below average. And in Kaub, Rhineland-Palatinate, the river is flowing at a depth of a mere 56 centimetres, the lowest it has been all year.

Ralf Schäfer of the Waterways and Shipping Office for Bingen confirmed that this already low level is predicted to drop another five centimetres by the end of the week.

“It’s too difficult for ships to move in such low waters. Businesses are being damaged, companies are having to load 4,000 tonne capacity ships with a mere 1,000 tons of goods,” Schäfer said.

Many barges along the Rhine are stuck, with some ferry services being cancelled since Saturday.

“You can see every single stone on the riverbed," said Susanne Maul of the Rhine-based ferry company Rheinfähre Maul.

Across the northeast of the country, the Elbe River, which stretches from Cuxhaven on the North Sea to the Czech Republic, is also suffering from the extreme lack of rain.

In Dresden, where the water level averages 2.4 metres high during the winter months, levels of 84 centimetres were reported on Tuesday. This is just over half a metre above the all time low of 26 centimetres recorded in 1948.

Water levels in neither the Elbe nor the Rhine are predicted to rise unless the country is hit by continuous heavy rainfall, but meteorologists are now predicting the driest November since recording began.

Click here for The Local's weather forecast

This lengthy dry spell also helped spark a forest fire in Upper Bavaria, which started on Sunday afternoon on the south side of the Schwarzberg mountain, near Lenggries.

The flames soon reached several metres in height and quickly spread over an area of eight hectares, roughly the size of eight football pitches.

No-one was injured, and 150 firefighters along with 30 fire engines were dispatched to the scene.

Their initial efforts failed, however, to bring the inferno under control due to the dark conditions. Four helicopters were sent to dump water on the area which brought the fire under control late on Monday.

Story continues below…

Police are using thermal imaging cameras to check for any remaining embers.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but catastrophe expert Alexander Bauer of the Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen authorities told public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk the dry weather had aggravated the blaze.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:54 November 22, 2011 by cassandra777
At 86cm the Elbe is half meter HIGHER than the all time low of 26cm.
12:06 November 23, 2011 by Gretl
"Across the northeast of the country, the Elbe River, which flows from Cuxhaven on the North Sea to the Czech Republic"

I believe the water flows FROM the Czech Republic TO the North Sea.
21:45 November 25, 2011 by Enough
Bitch Bitch Bitch...next time it floods remind them of the "drought"
Today's headlines
Train evacuated as passenger flips out during ticket check
Police at the scene in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

A regional train was evacuated in Leipzig on Wednesday after a passenger became aggressive during a ticket inspection.

Man arrested in Wuppertal as part of Spanish Isis raids
Police detain the suspect in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Isis cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online, the Spanish interior ministry said Wednesday.

Germans cut home energy usage by six percent in a year
Hamburg at night. Photo: DPA

The Energiewende is the German government's ambitious policy of drastically reducing carbon emissions. New figures show one remarkable success.

Merkel party MP under fire for using Nazi propaganda term
Bettina Kudla. Photo: Büro Bettina Kudla MdB/DPA.

A member of Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party is in hot water after tweeting over the weekend a Nazi propaganda term in her criticism of the country’s refugee policies.

Govt denies planning bailout for troubled Deutsche Bank
Photo: DPA

Germany's finance ministry on Wednesday said the government was "not preparing rescue plans" for Deutsche Bank, denying a newspaper report that state aid was being considered for the embattled lender.

Munich at high risk of housing bubble: report
A view of Munich. Photo: Pexels.com

Considering buying property in Munich? This report might make you think twice.

After fatal hail storm, south Germany set to see sun
The hail storm in Baden-Württemberg on Monday night left the streets looking like a winter landscape. Photo: DPA.

A hail storm in southwest Germany on Monday night led to the death of one woman, but forecasters predict a bit more sun in the days to come.

Police shoot dead father who attacked daughter's abuser
Police at the scene of the shooting in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Berlin police on Tuesday night shot and killed the father of a young girl at a refugee home as he tried to attack a man who allegedly sexually abused his daughter.

TV celebrity criticized for claiming 70 kg is overweight
Sophie Thomalla. Photo: DPA

Model Sophie Thomalla claimed that promoting models who weigh over 70 kg sets as dangerous an example as skinny supermodels.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: DPA

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,545
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd