Summer of rain continues with flooding and heavy storms

Rain is set to fall across nearly every part of the country on Tuesday, and has already hit northern and central areas hard.

Summer of rain continues with flooding and heavy storms
A crowd in Ulm, Baden-Württemberg on Monday waiting to hear the mayor speak. Photo: DPA.

Southern Lower Saxony and northern Thuringia were battered by storms between Monday and Tuesday, with between 50 to 80 litres of rain per square-metre falling over the last 24 hours – in some areas up to 100 litres.

“That is more than the usual monthly rainfall, and there will be some more to come,” said German Weather Service (DWD) meteorologist Thore Hansen.

In southern Lower Saxony, the rains caused flooding in basements and streets overnight before Tuesday, as well as streams overflowing. The areas around Hanover and in the Harz region were hit particularly hard, while in the town of Einbeck, the water on one street reached 20cm high, making the road impossible to drive along.

Saxony-Anhalt also experienced flooding, with the water levels of some rivers increasing dramatically.

And the storms are set to sweep the rest of the country starting on Tuesday.

“A low over central Europe is causing the bad weather in Germany, with moist and temperate air,” the DWD wrote in their weather report on Tuesday.

Several districts in central Germany between Göttingen and Braunschweig are on the highest alert (level four, dark purple in map below) for extreme weather conditions on Tuesday. Parts of central and eastern Germany are also on level three alert (red area on the map below) for bad weather, including Berlin and its surrounding area.

In western states, the DWD predicts rainfall of between 40 to 60 litres per square-metre within 48 hours from Tuesday, and in some places 60 to 90 litres per square-metre.

The northeast and south are set to experience squalls over the next 24 hours.

The rainy weather is set to continue across Germany through Wednesday and in most places also into Thursday. The southwest around Stuttgart and Konstanz is the only area expected to see clear skies on Thursday.

Even Friday is set to be a rainy day – also in Stuttgart and Konstanz – from north to south.

Forecast for Wednesday:


Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

A stranded cargo ship caused traffic to be halted Wednesday at the Rhine river in western Germany after suffering a technical fault, authorities said, at a time when water transport was already ailing from a drought.

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

The vessel is stuck at St. Goar and Oberwesel, in between the cities of Mainz and Koblenz, water police said, adding that they were expecting to clear the stricken ship within the day.

The machine damage came as water levels in the Rhine had dropped to critical points at several locations, including at nearby Kaub — a known bottleneck for shipping where the river runs narrow and shallow.

The gauge at Kaub stood at 34 cm (13 inches) on Wednesday, well below the 40-cm reference point.

While vessels are still able to navigate at low water levels, they are forced to reduce their loads to avoid the risk of running aground.

About four percent of freight is transported on waterways in Germany, including on the Rhine, which originates in Switzerland and runs through several countries including France and Germany before flowing into the sea in the Netherlands.

READ ALSO: How the Rhine’s low water levels are impacting Germany

Transport on the Rhine has gained significance in recent months because among cargo moved on the river is coal, now all the more necessary as Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.

Germany’s biggest companies have already warned that major disruptions to river traffic could deal another blow to an economy already beset by logistical difficulties.

The 2018 drought, which saw the benchmark depth of the Rhine in Kaub drop to 25 cm in October, shrank German GDP by 0.2 percent that year, according to Deutsche Bank Research.