Hardly any rain, but frost and some snow: Due to a change in the weather, the situation in many flood areas in Germany eased somewhat over the weekend.
However, things remain critical in parts of Lower Saxony and southern Saxony-Anhalt. Thousands of helpers are on duty. There was good news for almost 100 residents of the community of Lilienthal near Bremen. They were allowed to return to their homes after days of evacuation, the municipality announced.
Water is still pressing on dikes in Lower Saxony
In Lower Saxony, 23 of the 97 water levels nationwide have still reached or exceeded the highest reporting level, as a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior announced. The water levels are mostly unchanged. In some places they are sinking slightly, but the drainage is slow and the water is still pressing on the dikes. “We need perseverance,” said the spokesman.
In the districts of Celle, Oldenburg, Emsland, Osterholz, Heidekreis and Verden, as well as in the city of Oldenburg, which were particularly affected by the flood, an “extraordinary event” is still considered. This means, among other things, that municipalities can more easily access auxiliary staff.
According to the Interior Ministry, thousands of helpers are still working in the flood areas between the Harz and the North Sea. However, there is currently no need for support from the Bundeswehr, which had prepared for a possible deployment on Friday. In the south of Lower Saxony, sandbags are being collected and transported away again, a spokesman reported.
Bundeswehr continues to operate in Saxony-Anhalt
In the flood area in Saxony-Anhalt, the Bundeswehr helping there, together with other forces, decided to only work in daylight due to the current situation. A spokeswoman said that there was clear wetness visible and that the conditions did not currently allow work before sunrise or after sunset. According to the Mansfeld-Südharz district, with the help of the Bundeswehr, 50,000 sandbags were installed on Saturday alone to stabilize the dikes.
The Bundeswehr has been deployed in the district since Friday. It is the first and so far only Bundeswehr deployment in the current flood situation.
The situation in the Mansfeld-Südharz district became significantly more stable. “It is now very stable,” a spokeswoman for the crisis team in Sangerhausen told the German Press Agency. "The weather is finally playing into our hands."
The water levels of the Thyra River fell slightly over the weekend, a spokeswoman for the district said. It flows from the direction of the Harz into the helmets. Shortly before the end of the year, the river had clearly overflowed its banks in places. The district had declared a disaster.
According to the German Weather Service, very little precipitation is expected in the region in the coming days. On Sunday night the temperatures fell below zero degrees and permanent frost is also expected in the coming days. The district expects this to help ease the situation.
A change in the weather brings relaxation in many places
The weather is also changing in the rest of Germany: "The exceptionally mild westerly weather that has been going on for weeks, which has brought us lots of rain and floods, is now finally coming to an end," said meteorologist Christian Herold from the German Weather Service in Offenbach. “The weather situation is fundamentally changing to winter.” Temperatures no longer rise above zero during the day, and snow is expected, especially in the north and south.
According to a spokesman for the Ministry of the Environment, the situation in North Rhine-Westphalia is stable after the rains have stopped on the dikes and dams. “We have stagnating and predominantly falling water levels across the country,” said the spokesman. According to the ministry, only 37 of 104 measuring stations had one of the three flood warning levels in effect on Sunday morning. A day earlier on Saturday morning, this was still the case at 48 measuring stations.
In Hesse, all water levels have now fallen below level 2, as the Hessian State Office for Nature Conservation, Environment and Geology (HLNUG) announced. The water levels are expected to continue to fall over the next few days. Reporting level 1 means waters full to the brim, smaller banks are flooded.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, the water levels on the Middle Rhine and Lower Rhine are constantly falling, according to the flood forecast center. According to the information, the water levels at the water levels below the Wesel are currently stagnating, but are expected to fall shortly. There is currently no longer any acute risk of flooding on the remaining rivers in Rhineland-Palatinate. Water levels are expected to continue to decline over the next week.