The flood situation continues to keep Germany and especially Lower Saxony on tenterhooks today. Numerous gauges continued to show the highest warning level on the rivers. In addition, rain showers hit the north again during the night.
In the Lüchow-Dannenberg and Verden districts, those responsible do not expect water levels to fall until New Year's week. The situation on the Aller was still critical: In Verden/Aller the water continued to rise, as the district fire department announced on Friday evening. In view of the flood situation, the city of Celle and the neighboring municipality of Winsen/Aller also warned of outages in the energy supply and the mobile phone network because the water level in the Aller is expected to continue to rise. Fire departments, administration and aid organizations constantly monitored the development of the situation.
In Lilienthal (Osterholz district), directly on the state border with Bremen, the situation remains tense, the Stade fire and rescue control center announced late on Friday evening via an official danger information. Areas that have already been evacuated are still not allowed to be entered. Several streets in the community are without power. Further south in Hanover, the water levels of the Leine and Ihme fell - but the emergency services did not yet give the all-clear.
The situation could get worse again
According to estimates by the State Office for Water Management, Coastal and Nature Conservation, water levels downstream of the Weser will continue to rise. Particularly in the lower reaches of the Middle Weser, it is not yet possible to speak of an easing of tensions. In view of the expected rain, Interior Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD) expects the flood situation to become more severe in some regions in the coming days, as she said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk on Friday. According to the German Weather Service, the rain should initially ease slightly from Saturday to Sunday morning.
The Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) prepared to operate in the flood areas until the first week of January. “It is very clear that this will last through the turn of the year,” said THW President Sabine Lackner to the German Press Agency on Friday in Berlin. “What concerns us greatly is the condition of the dikes.” They were massively softened. Around 1,000 emergency services are on the move in the affected areas every day.
Disaster tourists cause problems
The city of Celle appealed to people to take closures seriously and only travel to the city if it is absolutely necessary. “Increasing flood tourism and traffic are preventing rescue workers from getting through in many places.” The Verden fire department also reported disruptive disaster tourists. The Osterholz district also fears that there will be many onlookers in the flood area on New Year's Eve.
Numerous districts again appealed not to enter dikes because they were weakened and could be damaged. In the city of Oldenburg there is a ban on entering dikes, which is punished with up to 5,000 euros.
Further restrictions on rail
Due to the weather and flooding, rail travelers have to prepare for delays and route closures for longer than planned. The connection between Oldenburg and Osnabrück is still restricted due to the flooding, said a spokeswoman for the Nordwestbahn on Friday.
Meanwhile, the levels at the dams in the Harz continue to fall. A spokesman for the Harz waterworks said that water is currently no longer being released via the emergency overflow. However, the situation remains tense because there is still too much water in the reservoirs. The Harz waterworks are hoping for dry weather so that the dams can continue to drain and thereby ensure flood protection.