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

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
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 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. 

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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.

Vocabulary

Flash flood – (die) Sturzflut

Heavy rain – (der) Starkregen

Rescue attempt – (der) Rettungsversuch 

Rescue teams – (die) Rettungskräfte

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.


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