After neckar and moselle: floods stop rhine navigation

After Neckar and Moselle: floods stop Rhine navigation

The flood situation remains threatening in large parts of germany and increasingly forces ship captains to take breaks. According to the federal association of german inland navigation, seven rivers – the rhine, danube, main, moselle, saar, neckar and weser – are affected, at least in sections.

Shipping has been suspended on the upper rhine as well. Further down the rhine, near cologne, for example, it could be that time this weekend. But meteorologists are now raising hopes of drier weather after the rainy start to the year: according to the german weather service (DWD), it will remain largely rain-free on sunday.

In the night to friday, the situation in the black forest town st. Blasien particularly critical. Rain and thaw led to flooding and landslides; disaster alarm threatened in the meantime. About 120 people were accommodated in a hall, most were able to return to their homes by morning. No one was injured.

The situation then eased during the day. However, the ministry of the interior of baden-wurttemberg warned that due to high water levels and sodden soils, slopes could still slide, trees could fall and cellars could fill up in the next few days. Shore areas and forests should not be entered.

In baden-wurttemberg, a 28-year-old lifeguard died during a high-water exercise of the german lifesaving society (DLRG). She drowned in the kocher river near schwabisch hall on thursday when her boat capsized. In france, a german was reported missing during floods. The man in his 70s from baden-wurttemberg probably fell into the water at his second home in rouvres-sur-aube, north of dijon, said the prefect of the haute-marne administrative district, francoise souliman.

In cologne, where the riverbed of the rhine is particularly narrow, the experts expected a level of 8.20 to 8.70 meters for sunday. The critical mark for captains is 8.30 meters. "Navigation will be stopped in any case. ‘the question is timing,’ said a spokesman for the flood control center.

Residents in germany’s fourth-largest city are not at risk. "Built-up areas on a larger scale are not threatened in any way," the spokesman said. For tuesday, the experts expected a peak of about 9 meters. The protective walls in cologne’s old town are designed for water levels of well over 11 meters.

In dusseldorf, a protective wall was erected in the old town to prevent water from penetrating the city. The fire department also prepared for action. "Sandbags are being packed, the stock is being replenished," a city spokesman said.

Shipping had already been suspended on the rhine tributaries the neckar and moselle rivers. On the moselle, the water level at the trier gauge rose above the critical eight-meter mark during the night. In heidelberg, the B37 was closed at the old town because the neckar overflowed its banks. In saarbrucken, the city highway was closed on friday because the saar river was rising and flooding was imminent.

In bavaria, too, cellars were flooded and roads had to be closed. There is a significant avalanche danger throughout the bavarian alps. In schleswig-holstein, there was a speed limit for ships on the kiel canal due to high tide.

The german weather service (DWD) expected continuous rain in the black forest until friday evening with 70 to 120 liters per square meter in some places. In addition, snow masses at high altitudes are melting away quickly because of the mild temperatures. In the allgau region, runoff volumes of 50 to 100 liters per square meter were expected by friday evening.

On saturday, rain is expected in a strip from rhineland-palatinate and north rhine-westphalia across the center to saxony. "Approximately south of the main it will remain largely dry and towards the alps also sunny for longer," the DWD said. At the same time it is getting colder. On saturday, temperatures drop to between two and ten degrees and on sunday to between one and nine degrees. In addition, there are northeasterly winds, so that the air in the north can feel like minus two degrees. "This is almost like real winter," said meteorologist martin jonas.

Low "burglind" had brought hurricane-like gusts and lashing rain to parts of germany on wednesday. According to initial estimates, the first storm of the new year caused damage in the hundreds of millions of euros. However, the german insurance association (GDV) estimates that "burglind" caused significantly less than half a billion euros in damage in germany.

This would have made "burglind" a severe storm, but not a record storm. According to the association, "kyrill" still leads the ranking of the five most severe winter storms of the past 20 years. In 2007, the storm left behind insured property damage amounting to more than two billion euros.