Austria and Germany – More Deadly Flash Floods After Heavy Rain

More heavy rain has caused deadly flash flooding in western Europe, this time in the Alpine Region along the border between southern Germany and Austria. Meanwhile the number of people who have lost thier lives in the flooding in Belgium and western Germany has increased to over 180.

Bavaria, Germany

In southern Germany, the district of Berchtesgadener Land in the state of Bavaria declared a disaster in response to flooding on 17 July, 2021. Heavy rain caused mudslides, flash flooding and several small rivers to break their banks. Berchtesgaden recorded 89.8 mm of rain in 24 hours to 18 July. Deutscher Wetterdienst said some areas saw more than 130 mm.

The district government said emergency services responded to 400 interventions. Dozens of people have evacuated, including 135 people in Schönau am Königssee. The hardest hit areas include Bischofswiesen, Berchtesgaden, Schönau am Königssee, Marktschellenberg and Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden.

Officials said 2 people have died but as of 18 July only one fatality could be confirmed as a result of flooding. Several roads in the area have been closed. The rail connection between Bad Reichenhall and Berchtesgaden is currently suspended.

Further heavy rain is expected and officials said people living along the Königsseer Ache river should prepare to evacuate.

Levels of the Königsseer Ache in Bavaria, July 2021. Image: HND Bayern


In Austria, damaging floods swept through areas along the Salzach River and its tributaries in the state of Salzburg late on 17 July 2021. The town of Hallein was particularly badly affected. Images and videos shared on Social Media showed muddy water racing through streets in the town. The Almbach river, which meets the Salzach River at Hallein, jumped from around 2 metres to 3.77 metres in the space of a few hours late on 17 July. As of 18 July there were no reports of casualties.

Areas further west were also affected, with flash flooding affecting the town Kufstein in the province of Tyrol. Currently the Salzach River at Mittersill, about 40km south of Kufstein, was well above the danger mark, standing at 5.877 metres, where the highest alert level (Alarmstufe 2) is 5 metres.

Levels of the Almbach river, at Hallein, Austria. Image: State of Salzburg
Levels of the Salzach River at Mittersill, Austria. Image: State of Salzburg

Western Europe Floods – Death Tolls Rises

Meanwhile the number of people who have lost their lives in the recent floods in western Germany and Belgium has increased to 183. Officials in Belgium confirmed 27 fatalities as of 18 July 2021.

In North Rhine-Westphalia state in Germany, 46 people were confirmed dead, including four firefighters. In the neighbouring state of Rhineland-Palatinate 110 fatalities were confirmed.

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