Weather: High risk of flooding in parts of Germany - place evacuated

Given persistent rainfall and saturated soils, the risk of flooding remains high in parts of Germany.

Weather: High risk of flooding in parts of Germany - place evacuated

Given persistent rainfall and saturated soils, the risk of flooding remains high in parts of Germany. The German Weather Service (DWD) continues to warn of continuous rain in several regions.

Windehausen (Nordhausen district) in northern Thuringia is particularly badly affected. The flood situation there became so severe that on Christmas Day it was necessary to completely evacuate the district of Heringen, which has almost 500 inhabitants. “The situation is very threatening, I have never seen a picture like this in the Goldene Aue,” said the mayor of the city of Heringen, Matthias Marquardt (left), to the German Press Agency.

By late evening, he estimated around 400 people had left their homes. “About 100 people remained in their homes,” reported the mayor. Not all buildings in the district are threatened by flooding.

The water was up to a meter high in some places. The mayor described the critical situation as there was no electricity, no access and no landline telephony. In addition, the toilets no longer worked due to the lack of drains. The residents were therefore urgently advised to leave their homes. However, the mayor emphasized that people would not be taken from their homes by police force.

"Like a bathtub that's overflowing"

Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Left), who took a look at the site on Monday, wrote on the Internet platform X (formerly Twitter): "I hope that everyone affected by the flood will be able to return home as soon as possible." It is currently uncertain when people will actually be able to return to their homes in Windehausen. The mayor expects the flood situation there to last for several more days. "It's like a bathtub that's overflowing."

The residents have been evacuated with wheel loaders and civil protection vehicles since Monday afternoon. They were taken to collection points and from there by bus to a gym in Heringen. Many residents were staying with family members.

The flood situation continued to be tense in parts of Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. A 45-year-old driver got stuck in floodwaters on Christmas Eve in Frankenberg (Central Saxony district) and was rescued uninjured by the fire department.

Train tracks are washed out

Rail traffic on the route between Hanover and Magdeburg is expected to be affected until Wednesday (December 27th). IC trains would be rerouted in both directions and would be delayed by around 30 minutes, Deutsche Bahn announced on its website. The background is therefore track erosion on the route from Magdeburg to Helmstedt.

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) warned of storm surges in the Weser area and on the North Sea coast of Lower Saxony. Specifically, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Elsfleth, Brake and Rechtenfleth on the Weser and Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea were mentioned. The situation was tense in other regions of Lower Saxony. Hundreds of volunteer firefighters are working in the Northeim district and the Harz region, among other places, to build dikes with sandbags and protect residential areas from flooding. In Celle, a retirement and nursing home had to be evacuated as a precaution. Because of the flood situation, the city of Oldenburg has issued a ban on access to dike areas and paths there.

However, the flood situation in Hamburg and parts of Schleswig-Holstein remained largely relaxed on Christmas Day. For Hamburg, a value of 1.5 meters above the mean flood (MHW) was expected on the Elbe. Measurements of 1.50 meters and more are considered storm surges.

In view of the heavy rain and flooding in many parts of North Rhine-Westphalia, Environment Minister Oliver Krischer has continued to urge great caution. “We have a tense flood situation in North Rhine-Westphalia,” said the Green politician on Christmas Day in Oberhausen, where he found out about the situation on the Ruhr dike. There is no reason to give the all-clear – “quite the opposite”. Given further rainfall, it is expected that the situation will initially remain tense. According to data from the State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (Lanuv) from Monday morning, the Weser tributaries in the eastern part of the country remain particularly badly affected.

Weather service warns of continuous rain

On the other hand, according to the flood control center, the situation on the rivers and streams in Rhineland-Palatinate is visibly easing. According to the flood forecast center, water levels on the Upper Rhine up to and including Worms are already falling again. According to information, the water level on the Moselle in Trier reached its highest level of 6.14 meters on Monday night. Since then, falling values ​​have been measured there.

According to the Flood Intelligence Service (HND), the flood situation in Bavaria has also calmed down somewhat. Franconia and Eastern Bavaria were particularly affected. In Nabburg (Schwandorf district) a canoeist capsized on the Naab. He was able to save himself from the river.

The German Weather Service continues to warn of continuous rain in several regions. High quantities are still expected, particularly in the western low mountain ranges - from the Bergisches Land to the Weserbergland - and in the Upper Harz, according to a DWD severe weather warning from Monday morning. A strong thaw is also continuing in the Erzgebirge. The severe weather warning applied to parts of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saxony. Flooding is expected along streams and rivers. In addition to floods, landslides could also occur. The majority of the country remains under the influence of mild and very humid air masses. The continuous rain will continue in some cases until Tuesday.