One woman missing and disaster alert sounded amid storms across Germany

As storms continue to batter much of the country on Wednesday, one woman has gone missing, one town has raised the official disaster alert, and another town is considering partial evacuation due to the weather.

One woman missing and disaster alert sounded amid storms across Germany
Water levels rise in Hildesheim. Photo: DPA

A 69-year-old woman in Wernigerode, Saxony-Anhalt has disappeared amid heavy rains near a river by her home, police reported on Wednesday. Authorities said it could be possible that she fell into the river on Tuesday, as the water level there has greatly increased.

The district of Goslar in the Harz mountain region of Lower Saxony also on Wednesday officially sounded the disaster alert due to flooding caused by rainstorms in the area.

In the small town of Bad Harzburg, the train station has been blocked off due to the tracks being underwater. The water level on many streets there also reached at least 20 centimetres high. Around 350 firefighters have been working there, and police are calling for more backup.

In the city of Goslar, serious flooding in the streets – as pictured below – has also largely blocked off the city centre, and a hotel as well as a senior centre have been evacuated.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), the amount of rain so far this week in the Harz area has in some places reached or even surpassed the level of precipitation typical for the whole month of July.

Meanwhile on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen, two vacationers sustained life-threatening injuries in a car accident, which police suspect was caused by the heavy rain.

North German town considers partial evacuation

Fire crews in Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, have said that they are preparing for the worst case scenario of evacuating areas of the town, as water levels continue to rise in the rain.

“At the moment our barricades are holding. But we are prepared for everything, including an evacuation,” a spokesman for the fire services said on Wednesday morning.

With a whole residential area of town under threat from the rising river level, 1,100 people could be told to leave their homes.

“The doors of an emergency shelter are already open,” a spokesman for the city authorities said.

Thirteen people have so far moved into the emergency accommodation, where they have been given basic provisions.

More than 200 fire crew members worked through the night on Tuesday to try to secure the town against flooding.

“We are building up sandbags and we'll keep an eye on whether they withstand the pressure,” said the fire services spokesman.

Water has been seen seeping through the sandbag barrier, but only in green areas along the Innerste, a tributary river to the town's main river, the Leine.

“The Innerste reached a record level last night,” a city spokesman confirmed on Wednesday, adding that the level beat a previous record set in 2007.

Flooding has hit several other regions of Lower Saxony over the past two days, including Holzminden and Hameln-Pyrmont. But by Wednesday morning the rain had let up.

Fire crews were also building up sandbags to secure residents of Göllingen, Thuringia, on Wednesday, as the Wipper River swelled to dangerous levels.

DWD has predicted more rain for Lower Saxony and Thuringia throughout Wednesday and has issued a weather warning for large parts of the east of the country.

Rainstorms set to subside, but not end

DWD said on Wednesday that the low pressure area dubbed Alfred that has been pouring down on Germany this week will move further east, and thus bring some relief to at least the western and central parts of the country.

But that doesn’t mean the wet weather is over. Regions including northeast Brandenburg, eastern Saxony and southeast Bavaria can still expect long-lasting and forceful rainfall on Thursday. The west and southwest will have some lighter showers, with sunshine peeking through here and there.

Saturday is expected to be more sunny and warm in the west and south, with highs up between 25C and 27C, while the northeast still faces the prospect of more rain. By Sunday the west should also get its share of more storm clouds along with the east, while the south will get sunshine during the day before storms are predicted to come back by the evening.


Weather: Germany sees extreme heat and storms

An extreme heat warning was in place for eastern Germany on Monday, while storms were also set to hit the country.

Weather: Germany sees extreme heat and storms

The German Weather Service (DWD) said temperatures could reach 36C on Monday. 

In the morning, the DWD issued an extreme heat warning for eastern regions, as shown below in the map. 

Map of Germany shows the heat warning in the east on Monday June 27th.

Photo: German Weather Service (DWD)

Forecasters said later on Monday, the south and east of the country would be hit by thunderstorms as well as large hailstones, strong winds and heavy rain.

READ ALSO: Germany sees record temperatures

In the north, west and centre of Germany, forecasters predicted clouds and some showers. Over the course of Monday, heavy thunderstorms with heavy rain, hailstones and strong winds are also possible in the north.

“Thunderstorms have occurred in the past few days and will continue in the coming days, as the established weather situation will remain virtually unchanged,” said a spokesperson from the DWD. 

However, the large temperature differences are striking: in the west of Germany, the mercury will only reach just above 20C in places.

Overnight to Tuesday, the DWD predicts thunderstorms – some of them heavy – from the Baltic Sea to the Alps, and later there is set to be more showers. It could still reach 28C in some places, especially in the east.

The DWD said: “The risk of thunderstorms will remain in the southern half of the country, while the northern half will calm down after the last thunderstorms have moved to Poland.

“This will change again on Wednesday night, when showers and thunderstorms, some of them thundery, as well as heavy rain will make their way north. On Wednesday, it will be quite unsettled with muggy temperatures almost all over the country.”

Forecasters said the weather will remain changeable for the rest of the week, but it should become more settled from next weekend.