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-Württemberg, in particular in Ostalbkreis (Ostalb district). Braunsbach, in the neighbouring district of Schwäbisch 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.
Earlier today officials from Schwäbisch Gmünd, 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 Weißbach in Hohenlohe, a district in the north of Baden-Württemberg, 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.
#Gewitter nehmen Fahrt auf! Achtung! #Unwetterwarnungen zurzeit in Baden-Württemberg, Bayern und Thüringen aktiv! /V pic.twitter.com/xVPa7ZL7zJ
— DWD (@DWD_presse) May 29, 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-Württemberg 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 Schwäbisch Hall, Baden-Württemberg, DWD say that 93 mm of rain was recorded.
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.
(!) Wir sind nicht außerhalb der Wettergefahrenzone – wachsam bleiben! #WarnWetter-App, https://t.co/EzlWZN8Gut /kis pic.twitter.com/vndxt3Np5O
— DWD (@DWD_presse) May 30, 2016
The Food Forecasting Centre (Hochwasservorhersagezentrale ) in Baden-Württemberg 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.
— DJ BelAir (@DJ_BelAir) May 29, 2016
Gewitter und Regen haben in #BW größere Schäden angerichtet. Hier Bilder vom Bahnhof in Schwäbisch Gmünd. #Gmuend pic.twitter.com/UAXjLNv6iT
— STUGGI.TV (@stuggitv) May 30, 2016
Heftige #Unwetter. #Video #Braunsbach #Landkreis #Schwäbisch #Hall #Katastrophe pic.twitter.com/xtw1KGhuua
— Sascha Baumann (@BaumannSascha) May 29, 2016
#schwaebischgmuend Schweres Unwetter zu Hause. Und ja, wir müssen über #climatechange und auch Versiegelung reden pic.twitter.com/lyhjqtahue
— Ines Pohl (@inespohl) May 29, 2016
B - Schwäbisch Gmünd
C - Weißbach
Kirchberg - May 29 to May 30, 2016
Most of the rain fell in the space of 12 hours.