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Where will rainfall be the heaviest in Germany this weekend?

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Where will rainfall be the heaviest in Germany this weekend?
A woman walks along a flooded footpath in Riedlingen, Baden-Würrtemberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Thomas Warnack

A torrential downpour is forecast to hit Germany over the weekend, with meteorologists warning of potentially life-threatening conditions. Here are the regions that will be worst affected - and how long it's set to last.

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Anyone planning a cycle tour or trip to a lake this weekend may want to reschedule their plans: according to the German Weather Service (DWD), heavy rain is expected in several regions between Friday and Monday morning and there's even a risk of floods in some areas. 

Here's what to expect over the coming days. 

Which regions could be affected?

The DWD has issued hazard information for several federal states, including a large section of eastern and central Germany that runs from Dresden and Erfurt to the Alps, as well as several regions in Baden-Württemberg.

In the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in particular, the DWD has issued severe weather warnings and is urging people to be cautious while out and about.

The meteorologists are warning of a pressure system moving from the Alps to Poland, which could bring heavy thunderstorms and torrential rain. In the worst-hit places, 50 to 120 litres of water per square metre could fall within 48 hours - even up 150 litres per square metre in some locations.

The situation in Hesse is also tense with regard to possible flooding: due to rainfall over the past few days, sections of the Werra, Rhine and Neckar rivers could overflow in the central German state.

READ ALSO: Which parts of Germany face the greatest flood risk - and how can homeowners prepare?

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In Saxony, the first flood warnings have been issued for the Upper White Elster, the Mulde and the tributaries of the Upper Elbe due to heavy rainfall expected from Friday evening.

What does that mean for people in the area?

Weather warnings issued on Thursday now apply from Friday until late on Sunday in most cases - and could be extended to other areas. Of course, we don't yet know exactly how much rain will fall - but experts suggest that flooding in some regions is likely. 

From midday on Friday until Sunday, the low pressure system could keep the emergency services busy in several regions of Germany.

After a spell of wet weather, many regions in Germany are already holding more water than usual. Meaning that the ground and local rivers may not be able to absorb all the added precipitation - making flooding more likely.

Saarland was recently affected by flooding around the Whitsun weekend.

How can you protect yourself?

Most importantly, don't underestimate the risks posed by severe weather, particularly when it comes to flooding on roads and in subways. This weekend, the DWD isn't beating around the bush: the weather experts have even warned that there could be "danger to life and limb" posed by the heavy rainfall. 

The Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance generally advises people to check they have enough food and drink at home when there are severe weather warnings. 

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"The most important rule: stay home! Try to postpone appointments or social engagements," the authority writes on its website. In general, flood protection in Germany has been strengthened in recent years following the flood disaster in the Ahr valley in July 2021 in which nearly two hundred people lost their lives. 

Just this week, the German Insurance Association called on the government to introduce new regulations to help cope with the threat of natural disasters linked to climate change.

"We need adapting to climate change to be anchored in building regulations, less land sealing and building bans in flood areas," they said. 

READ ALSO: New disaster warning system rolled out across Germany

What else should people be aware of?

If you're planning on attending any outdoor events this weekend, it could be worth checking if they've been cancelled - especially if you're based in eastern or southern Germany.

Apparently, Saxony's state government is postponing its government quarter open day that was planned for Saturday due to the weather. The event is now set to take place on August 4th. 

In Thuringia, meanwhile, the fountain festival and parade in Bad Berka near Weimar, and a planned children's festival in Gotha, have been cancelled due to safety concerns. However, the German Catholic Day (Katholikentag) is so far going forward in the state capital of Erfurt despite the rain.

Catholic Day in Saxony

German Catholics' Day opens with a rainy procession in Erfurt's cathedral square on Thursday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jan Woitas

Heavier rain events linked to climate change

Analyses of the past 70 years show that the intensity and frequency of heavy rainfall days have increased slightly in Germany.

Winter still tends to be the season when more severe rain events are recorded. In recent years, the number of rainy days has decreased overall in summer, while the intensity have the rainfall has increased. 

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According to DWD, this is a trend that's likely to continue in the future as the planet heats up. Since warmer atmospheres can absorb more moisture, more rainfall can be expected whenever it does rain. 

READ ALSO: Record heat deaths and floods - How Germany is being hit by climate change

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