Storm: Baltic Sea flood damages protective systems - people are safe

A severe storm surge caused major damage on the Baltic Sea coast, especially in Schleswig-Holstein.

Storm: Baltic Sea flood damages protective systems - people are safe

A severe storm surge caused major damage on the Baltic Sea coast, especially in Schleswig-Holstein. The coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania got off more lightly with lower water levels.

In Flensburg the water level rose to more than 2.2 meters above normal around midnight. Parts of the port area were flooded. It was a flood of the century for the fjord town. For safety reasons, the municipal utilities switched off the electricity in the affected areas. In Eckernförde the maximum value was around 2.1 meters above normal. In the morning, water levels dropped significantly everywhere as the storm subsided.

Disaster alert

A disaster alarm was triggered in the Rendsburg-Eckernförde district on Friday evening. In the old town of Eckernförde there were voluntary evacuations from parts of the old town, as a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry said on Saturday morning. The South School Center served as emergency accommodation for the residents. Relief workers also brought residents to safety in other places such as Brodersby. The Interior Ministry's disaster team in Kiel had already started work on Friday afternoon.

According to the spokeswoman, there were major problems in the districts of Rendsburg-Eckernförde, Schleswig-Flensburg as well as in the cities of Flensburg and Kiel. In Ostholstein, several beach walls were broken by the floods and dikes were damaged. A dike broke in Maasholm on the Schlei. In Schleswig the harbor was flooded and the electricity was cut off. A major problem for the disaster control systems is the constant exposure to water, said the spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Interior.

Large contingent of emergency services in action

The fire brigade, rescue services, police and the Technical Relief Agency (THW) were deployed with a large number of forces. Sandbags were piled up on threatened dikes. According to the Rendsburg-Eckernförde district fire brigade association, around 450 firefighters were on duty in this district alone. In Eckernförde and Lübeck, around 150 women and men from the THW supported the work. The THW also took part in the security measures in Damp (Rendsburg-Eckernförde district). Among other things, it was about securing a rehabilitation clinic.

Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU) had already thanked all helpers and emergency services on Friday evening. The Minister responsible for coastal protection in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Till Backhaus (SPD), called on people in the affected areas to be careful in the evening.

On Friday afternoon, a woman was killed in her car by a falling tree on the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn. There were initially no reports of further deaths or injuries in the morning.

Situation calmed down in the morning

As the eastern storm subsided in the second half of the night and in the morning, the water levels on the Baltic Sea coast fell significantly. According to data from the Waterways and Shipping Administration, the level in Flensburg was still 1.42 meters above normal at 7:20 a.m. on Saturday, and in Eckernförde it was still 1.41 meters above normal.

A damage assessment was not yet available early in the morning. Only when the water has drained can experts assess how extensive the damage is to dikes and other flood protection systems, beaches, port facilities, bank fortifications and buildings.