Germany braces for more torrential rain as some areas hit by severe flooding

Saxony, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia have all been struck by torrential downpour as the German Weather Service issued its highest possible warning. The heavy rain is expected to last until Friday.

Germany braces for more torrential rain as some areas hit by severe flooding
Firefighters search for a missing man in Jöhstadt, Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Andre März

Germany was once against struck by flash floods on Tuesday evening as emergency services struggled to cope with overflowing cellars and flooded streets along both the eastern and western borders of the country. 

Earlier in the day, the German Weather Service (DWD) had issued its most severe weather warning possible between Eifel and the Mosel Valley in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate due to extremely heavy continuous rain.

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: Devastating storm rips through southern and western Germany

Until Thursday morning, rainfall of 70 to 120 litres per square metre can be expected, DWD said on Wednesday morning.

“The risk of flooding is growing regionally,” they said.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, too, the fire brigade had to pump out numerous cellars that had been flooded during the storm. 

“The people are desperate,” the spokesman for the Hagen police headquarters told DPA. Muddy debris from landslides also washed onto roads from slopes and blocked off several routes between cities.

One resident of Nimmertal in the district of Hagen shared a video of a gushing stream: “That was once our driveway,” he said.

Man declared missing in Saxony 

The eastern state of Saxony also fell victim to thunderstorms and flash flooding overnight on Tuesday. In the town of Jöhstadt, near the Polish border, a man was swept away in the floods as he tried to secure his house against the overflowing river, DPA reported. 

His neighbours made several rescue attempts but were unable to help him. 

The eastern fire brigade called off the initial search during the night, local police told DPA. No further details were available at the time of writing. 

‘Disaster’ declared in Bavaria

Late on Tuesday evening, a disaster was declared in the Hof district in Bavaria because of the torrential downpour. The emergency services were so overwhelmed by calls that many people struggled to reach the emergency 112 number, the Bavarian Red Cross told DPA. 

More than 50 fire brigades with almost 1,000 people and 140 members of the Technical Relief Organization (THW) were called up throughout the night to pump water from cellars and to procure sandbags. The Bavarian city of Selbitz was particularly hard hit by the storm, with emergency services called out 120 times during the night.

Streets and cellars were flooded, trees fell, and in some cases the power went out. Fire detectors also sounded the alarm. The fire brigade and their helpers worked all night, said a spokesman for the Hof fire department told DPA in the morning.

READ ALSO: German phrase of the day: Als hätte der Himmel seine Schleusen geöffnet

The northern German states were spared the worst of the flooding, but in Berlin, one observer filmed a bolt of lightening as it struck the top of the TV tower during an overnight thunderstorm.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms until Friday

Though the situation has now calmed down, torrential rain is likely to continue, particularly across parts of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, until Thursday, the German Meteorological Service had announced the day before.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: What’s going on with Germany’s weather right now?

Meteorologists expect heavy rain and thunderstorms across the country until at least Friday.


Flash flood – (die) Sturzflut

Heavy rain – (der) Starkregen

Rescue attempt – (der) Rettungsversuch 

Rescue teams – (die) Rettungskräfte

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Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

After a cold blast at the end of November, winter in Germany is set to begin with yet more snow, making it the perfect time to dig out a puffer coat and get out to Christmas market.

Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

German punctuality has struck once again as winter looks set to arrive right on cue this year, with a flurry of snowfall, ice and frosty conditions in several regions of the country.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), Saxony-Anhalt could see the mercury drop as low as -6C on Friday as snow continues to fall until the afternoon. The Harz mountains will also get a festive dusting of snow, with temperatures ranging from -1 to -3C in the coming days.   

Saturday is set to be overcast in the region with up to 5cm of snowfall, but things could dry up on Sunday as temperatures rise to a nippy 1-3C. The eastern states of Saxony and Thuringia can also expect icy conditions and snow over the weekend.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, snow is also expected at higher altitudes. In eastern Westphalia and in the Sauerland region, there could be light snowfall or sleet, DWD reported on Friday. Drivers and cyclists should exercise caution as roads are likely to become slippery due to fresh snow or freezing rain.

DWD explains that two high-pressure areas are currently causing colder winds to sweep across Germany. The first, which caused snow to fall overnight across central Germany, is gradually heading south towards France – though the second is set to bring another icy spell to the country on Friday evening and into Saturday.

Bavaria will be the first to experience the chill as the high-pressure zone travels across the Alps overnight. 

The southern state is likely to have a soggy start to the weekend, with rain falling at lower altitudes – though more hilly and mountainous areas will see some snow. But as temperatures drop during the night, residents of Bavaria could see as much as 5cm as snow on Saturday morning.

READ ALSO: Surviving winter: 8 tips for enjoying the cold like a true German

The rest of the weekend will likely be marked by uniform grey skies, frost and drizzle, though those lucky enough to live in an Alpine region could see a few precious rays of sunshine too.

The weather will also take a distinctly wintry turn in Berlin and Brandenburg over the weekend, as the cold front sweeps across northeastern Germany on Saturday and towards the Baltic Sea. 

Friday is likely to be mostly chilly and overcast, with occasional rain or sleet and maximum temperatures of 2C. 

In the night, however, southern Brandenburg will start to see some fresh snowfall, which will move up across Berlin and to the north of Brandenburg over the course of Saturday.

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

Berliners should be sure to wrap up if they’re heading out to enjoy the festive scenes, since the mercury is likely to hover between zero and -2C. 

Will the snow settle? 

Unfortunately the dusting of white is unlikely to stick around long in most places – so make your snow angels while you can. 

Misty or overcast skies will return on Advent Sunday, while occasional drizzle could well turn Saturday’s snow into slush. Hilly and mountainous regions will be the only ones treated to an extra helping of snow.

Meanwhile, Monday is set to get off to a soggy and wet start, with rainfall in most regions and temperatures between 1C and 5C. 

READ ALSO: Will Germany see more snow this winter?