IN PICS: Central Germany begins clean-up effort after heavy flooding

The continuous rain throughout this week has at last ended, but there are still visible signs of the serious flooding that ensued, especially in central Germany.

IN PICS: Central Germany begins clean-up effort after heavy flooding
Flooding in Hildesheim on Thursday. Photo: DPA.

The Harz mountain region of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt was especially hard hit by the storms that poured down across Germany this week, leading to serious flooding in places like Hildesheim, as pictured below.

Top: Flooding in Hildesheim on Thursday. Bottom: After the water was pumped out on Friday. Photo: DPA..

On Friday this region was in the middle of cleanup operations, including surveying damage from the storms and starting repairs.

But while some cities had managed to pump much of the water out of their streets by Friday, others were still dealing with the flooding late into Thursday, such as in Wolfenbüttel, Lower Saxony where officials had to trigger the disaster alert.

“At night we had many operations, with sandbags being piled up and water being pumped,” said a spokesman for the local emergency operations.

Photos posted to social media on Friday showed people boating through the flooded streets in Wolfenbüttel.

“The lower floor of a care home was evacuated and the residents were brought to safety,” added another spokeswoman.

In Braunschweig (also called Brunswick), firefighters had to fill up thousands of sandbags on Thursday, handing them out for free to protect locals from the high water levels. The water is expected to shift in the coming days to the Leine and Oker rivers. Officials in the Leine area of Hanover expect the water level to reach a peak by Friday evening.

Below, a park in Braunschweig on Wednesday, flooded from the rain:

Lower Saxony’s Minister President Stephan Weil and the state’s environment minister Stefan Wenzel said they would give further details on what measures they will take on Friday.

The flooding also is estimated to have caused millions of euros in damage to the University of Hildesheim, the consequences of which will likely still be felt when classes start again in October.

“It is severe,” said a university spokeswoman, calling the damage “massive”.

The campus as well as protected historic castle grounds have been affected, she added.

“The institute is underwater.”

In Saxony-Anhalt, the town of Harsleben saw a stream overflow onto the banks, while in Wernigerode a kindergarten temporarily closed due to the high water levels, reopening on Friday.

Harsleben on Friday. Photo: DPA.

The German Weather Service (DWD) predicts Friday to be clear of rain across the vast majority of the country, with some showers still expected around Emsland, Lower Saxony and in Western Pomerania.

By Saturday, rain is set to fall again in the north and west, while the rest of the country will experience warm weather with highs between 24C and 28C.

Sunday will bring heavier storms once again throughout the country, which are expected to continue into next week.


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.