Germany – Floods in South Leave 3 Dead

A storm and heavy rain from late 29 May 2016 caused flooding in parts of southern Germany which has left at least 3 people dead.

The worst hit area is the east of the German state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg, in particular in Ostalbkreis (Ostalb district). Braunsbach, in the neighbouring district of Schw├Ąbisch Hall, has also suffered major damage after the Kocher River overflowed. Parts of the neighbouring state of Bavaria also saw heavy rain.

The flood waters caused severe damage as cars were swept along streets that had been turned to rivers. German media say that around 7,000 emergency personnel from fire, police, medical and disaster management authorities, were working across the affected areas. Full damage assessments in affected areas are yet to be carried out.

Flood Deaths

Earlier today officials from Schw├Ąbisch Gm├╝nd, a town of around 60,000 people in Ostalbkreis, reported that a volunteer firefighter died attempting to rescue a victim caught in the flooding. Authorities believe the person he was attempting to rescue is also dead. Deep flood water is preventing full access to the site of the attempted rescue.

In a separate incident, police said that one person died in an underground car park in the town of Wei├čbach in Hohenlohe, a district in the north of Baden-W├╝rttemberg, after it became flooded.

Rainfall, Rivers and Warnings

The Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD – German Weather Service) issued a storm warning at around 16:00 (local time) yesterday, 29 May, 2016.

DWD said earlier today that during the storms, more rain fell in one hour than would normally be expected in 2 weeks.

Via social media, DWD said that in an area from north west Bavaria and the north of Baden-W├╝rttemberg to the Mosel, rain levels of over 50mm were recorded in 12 hours during the storm. In Kirchberg an der Jagst, in the district of Schw├Ąbisch Hall, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, DWD say that 93 mm of rain was recorded.

Rainfall levels in Germany for 12 hour period,  29 to 30 May 2016. Image: Deutscher Wetterdienst
Rainfall levels in Germany for 12 hour period, 29 to 30 May 2016. Image: Deutscher Wetterdienst

Other initial figures say that 78.8mm of rain was recorded in 24 hours in Oehringen, Hohenlohe, between 29 and early 30 May, with 71mm of that falling in 12 hours.

DWD say that further severe weather is expected today in particular in areas further north.

River Levels

The Food Forecasting Centre (Hochwasservorhersagezentrale ) in Baden-W├╝rttemberg are warning that levels of rivers have risen sharply, in particular in smaller rivers in the east of the state, including the south-eastern tributaries of the Danube (Riss and Rottum) and eastern tributaries of the Neckar (Fils, Rems, Kocher, Jagst).

Below are graphs showing the sharp rise in levels of the Kocher River at Kocherstetten (near Braunsbach), and Stein, both in Hohenlohe district. The lines marked HMO-Grenzwert can be considered the warning or flood level.

Levels of the Kocher River at Kocherstetten, Hohenlohekreis. Image: Baden-W├╝rttemberg Hochwasservorhersagez
Levels of the Kocher River at Kocherstetten, Hohenlohekreis. Image: Baden-W├╝rttemberg Hochwasservorhersagez
Levels of the Kocher River at Stein, Hohenlohekreis. Image: Baden-W├╝rttemberg Hochwasservorhersagez
Levels of the Kocher River at Stein, Hohenlohekreis. Image: Baden-W├╝rttemberg Hochwasservorhersagez

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Flood summary

Last updated: July 4, 2016
Event
Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany, May 2016
Date
May 29 to May 31, 2016
Type
Inland flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
A storm and heavy rain that began late 29 May 2016 caused flooding in parts of southern Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany, leaving 3 people dead.

Locations

A - Schw├Ąbisch Hall
B - Schw├Ąbisch Gm├╝nd
C - Wei├čbach

Magnitude

Rainfall level
93 mm in 24 hours
Kirchberg - May 29 to May 30, 2016
Most of the rain fell in the space of 12 hours.

Damages

Fatalities
2 people
Schw├Ąbisch Gm├╝nd
Fatalities
1 person
Wei├čbach