Major Floods In Central Europe

June 3rd, 2013 at 10:25 am by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

A big world-wide weather story right now are the big floods in Europe (after the recent significant U.S. tornadoes).  The worst in 70 years, many town & cities have been engulfed by torrential rain & storms.



Footage shows animals at Prague zoo being moved to higher ground, and submerged emergency vehicles, cars and homes in other parts of Europe

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Thousands of people have fled their homes across central Europe as deadly flood waters continue to rise.

Emergency operations are under way in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic to deal with record levels of flooding in some places.

Landslides and flooding have led to the deaths of at least seven people. More than eight people are missing.

In Germany, more than 7,000 people have been moved from their homes in the town of Eilenburg, reports say.

The Czech capital, Prague, is on high alert amid fears that floodwater could swamp its historic centre.


“The catastrophic floods of 2002 and 1997 are still very much alive in people’s memories”

Around 3,000 people have been forced to leave their homes across western Czech Republic, including parts of the capital.

Animals from Prague’s zoo were also moved to higher ground as flood waters inundated parts of the site.

Underground stations have been closed and schools shut as Prague officials wait and see whether the Vltava River will flood its banks.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas called a special cabinet session on Sunday to co-ordinate the emergency response, and around 1,000 troops were mobilised to help erect metal barriers and fill sandbags.

“We will do everything to protect people’s lives and health,” he said. “Tonight and tomorrow will be critical.”

Aerial view of flooded Passau on 3 June 2013 Passau, in the German region of Bavaria, is one of the cities worst hit by the flooding.


The BBC’s Rob Cameron in Prague says the city is hoping that the defences it installed after devastating floods in 2002 will work.

At risk is the 14th Century Charles Bridge and other historic buildings close to the river bank, he says.

Disaster zone

Main roads in many areas of central Europe have been closed and rail services cut. Thousands of homes are without power.

Czech police said on Monday that at least five people were now known to have died due to the flooding. Two people died after their cottage collapsed on Sunday, and three people had died in separate incidents across Bohemia. Several people are missing.

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Floods across Central Europe

Central Europe
  • Austria Two people have died and several are missing in the west of the country
  • Germany Evacuations have taken place in Saxony while Bavaria is forecast more heavy rain
  • Czech Republic Five people have died and Prague is on high alert. Troops have been called in to erect flood defences
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In Austria, the meteorological service said two months of rain had fallen in just two days.

A man was found dead near Salzburg after being swept away as he worked to clear a landslip, and another man died in the western state of Vorarlberg. Three people remain missing.

More than 300 people were moved from their homes in Salzburg and the neighbouring Tyrol as the army worked with the civil authorities to clear landslides and make roads passable. Parts of the Pinzgau region, which includes Taxenbach, have been declared a disaster zone.

In Germany, Bavaria’s flood alert service has warned that the forecast of continuing heavy rain is likely to worsen the flooding affecting the Danube and the Inn, among other rivers in the area.

The German cities of Passau and Rosenheim have declared a state of emergency.

Water levels in Passau, which lies at the confluence of three rivers in Bavaria, were at their highest since 1501, according to German media reports.

“The situation is extremely dramatic,” Herbert Zillinger, a spokesman for Passau’s crisis centre, told The Associated Press.

Towns and cities in Saxony, Thuringia and Baden-Wuerttemberg have also been inundated by flooding, and the army has been deployed to help with the emergency effort.

In northern Saxony, water levels on the River Mulde were said to be particularly high.

A large area of Eilenburg north-east of Leipzig was evacuated, reports said, with 7,000 people being taken to emergency shelters.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to visit the flood-hit areas on Tuesday.

The European Union has said it stands ready to help the three countries as they tackle the devastating floods.

A general view of the flooded Berounka river is seen on the outskirts of Prague June 3, 2013. REUTERS-David W Cerny


By Jason Hovet and Jana Mlcochova

PRAGUE | Mon Jun 3, 2013 9:39am EDT

(Reuters) – Volunteers piled up sandbags to keep a swollen river from overwhelming the Czech capital’s historic center on Monday after floods across central Europe forced factories to close, drove thousands from their homes and killed at least six people.

Five people were killed at the weekend in the Czech Republic, where the flooding was the worst in a decade, while in Austria one clean-up worker was killed in a mud-slide near Salzburg and another three people were missing.

The flooding, which also affected parts of Germany, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, sent shares in reinsurers Munich Re and Hannover Re down by about 3.5 percent with markets anticipating big claims from property owners once the waters recede.

Carmaker Volkswagen temporarily shut its plant in Zwickau, in the eastern German state of Saxony, because the flooding stopped workers reaching the factory, and parts of the German town of Passau, at the confluence of the Danube and two other rivers, were flooded.

The last time central Europe saw similar floods was in 2002, when 17 people were killed in the Czech Republic, and damage estimated at 20 billion euros ($26 billion) was inflicted.

Officials in Prague, the Czech capital listed by the U.N. cultural agency as a World Heritage Site, said they did not anticipate the waters of the swollen Vltava river, which runs through the center, would reach the 2002 levels.

But they were not taking chances. They shut the metro system and, in streets near the river, soldiers put up mobile metal fences – flood defenses that were ordered after the disaster 11 years ago. Elsewhere, volunteers built walls of sandbags.


The Charles Bridge, a favorite spot for tourists which dates back to the 14th century, was closed. Tree trunks floated by in the muddy brown water. A riverside path, which is below street level, is usually populated with cyclists and people sitting at cafes, but it was under water on Monday.

“We left England yesterday and it was sunny and warm. We didn’t expect this, we don’t even have our raincoats,” said British tourist Alison Tadman, who came to Prague with her husband, Adrian, to celebrate her 47th birthday.

She and her husband were sheltering in a McDonald’s restaurant. “We’re pretty disappointed,” she said.

Some of the worst flooding was around the Danube river, which starts in Germany and snakes its way through countries including Austria, Slovakia and Hungary on its way to the Black Sea. The river was swollen by heavy rain at the weekend.

In Germany, the interior minister flew to the flood-hit regions on Monday and Chancellor Angela Merkel was preparing to go on Tuesday, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

How her government responds to the emergency could influence the outcome of a nationwide election in September. “It’s perfectly normal the leader of the government would go to the region and see what is happening for herself,” said Seibert.

Shipping was stopped on parts of the Danube and Rhine rivers in Germany – both important arteries for shipping grains, coals and other commodities – because of the high waters.

Thousands of people living in low-lying areas in Austria, and the Czech Republic, had to be evacuated from their homes. Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas declared a state of emergency on Sunday for most of his country.

The risk on Monday was that the flood danger could follow the course of the Danube river downstream to other European countries along its route.

In Hungary, whose the capital Budapest is built on the banks of the Danube, state media quoted Gyorgy Bakondi, head of the National Disaster Authority, as saying that 400 people were working on flood defenses.

He said water levels in the river could reach or even exceed the height seen in the record flooding in 2002.

($1 = 0.7716 euros)

(Reporting by Robert Muller, Jan Lopatka and Michael Kahn in Prague, Georgina Prodhan in Vienna, Erik Kirschbaum in Vienna, Jonathan Gould in Frankfurt, and Gergely Szakacs in Budapest; Writing by Christian Lowe in Warsaw; Editing by Pravin Char)


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