Flood alarms have been raised in southern and eastern Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria after unseasonal summer downpours. People have gone missing at several locations. Riverside festivals have been cut short.
Authorities in central Europe are erecting anti-flood barriers and have begun evacuations amid fears that major rivers could rise to levels similar to extreme flooding in 2002 which left stretches of Elbe and its tributaries engulfed.
Along the Danube, the flood level in the city of Passau neared 11 meters, prompting the premier of the southern German state of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, to call emergency talks. The city of Rosenheim has also issued flood warnings.
In Germany's eastern state of Saxony floodwaters overflowed the banks in Chemnitz city amid forecasts of more rain in the Elbe river catchment. The city of Zwickau began an evacuation of one of its suburbs.
It said three water sports enthusiasts were missing along two rivers in the Bohemia region. Two hundred soldiers had been deployed to assist emergency crews.
Dozens of roads and several train tracks have been closed.
Austria also deployed troops in its western province of Salzburg and neighboring Tirol where 120 residents were ferried out of homes facing inundation.
In just a few days, Austria has experienced as much rain as it would normally receive in two early summer months, according to its meteorological center ZAMG.
In the northern Bavarian city Wurzburg, the city's annual four-day Africa Festival was largely curtailed on Sunday as the flooded Main flowed across riverbank pastures.
Europe's largest such festival has run for more than 20 years until its sodden end on Sunday.
Campers, stall operators and performers hurriedly packed their things. The local Red Cross and city officials erected 500 temporary beds in a local school.
ipj/msh (dpa, ap, AFP)