Rhine closed to shipping between Duisburg and Koblenz due to high waters

Rhine closed to shipping between Duisburg and Koblenz due to high waters
Flooding of the Rhine, Koblenz. Photo: DPA
Water, water everywhere but not a drop to sail on after high waters brought shipping to a standstill on a 180km stretch of the Rhine on Sunday night.

After the recent heavy rains in Germany, the Rhine river has been temporarily closed to all shipping between Duisburg and Koblenz, WDR 1 reports.

“As soon as the water level climbs over 8.3 metres, that happens, ” a spokesman for the water police told WDR 1.

Around Cologne, water levels have been far above the critical height of 8.3 metres since Sunday evening, meaning ships currently do not have enough space to sail under bridges in the area.

The Rhine is expected to be at its highest around Monday and Tuesday before water levels begin to drop due to drier weather, but shipping can only recommence once water levels drop below 8.2 metres.

On Sunday evening water levels rose to 8.61 metres in Cologne before reaching 8.75 metres by Monday morning and are expected to peak at around 9 metres before starting to drop as the day goes on.

Meanwhile in Düsseldorf, where the Rhine is wider, flood levels rose from 8.06 metres to 8.25 metres, but these levels are also expected to drop as the afternoon goes on.

Overall the Rhine has experienced its highest water levels in two years but this is no reason to panic.

The water levels are not likely to pose a threat as there is only a danger of flooding in Cologne's Altstadt if the waters of the Rhine reach 11 metres or more. 

What's more the affected cities are well prepared for the height of the flood. For example, protection has been set up at the Altstadt gates in Cologne and 40,000 sandbags were made available for use in Düsseldorf on Sunday evening.