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Germany: New storm warning after deadly floods

John Silk | Darko Janjevic
July 24, 2021

Weather officials issued a storm warning for parts of western Germany, while Bavaria might face flash floods. Across the country, survivors of last week's tragedy are bracing for more heavy rain.

A view of Düsseldorf with clouds in the background
Storm clouds are looming over North Rhine-Westphalia once moreImage: Marc Herwig/dpa/picture alliance

Heavy showers and gusts of wind of up to 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) per hour were scheduled to hit parts of northwest Germany on Saturday, the country's weather agency DWD said. In the southern state of Bavaria, weather experts warned that "extreme flash floods" were possible.

However, the scope of the storms is expected to be far less severe than the heavy rainfall which caused catastrophic floods and resulted in almost 200 people losing their lives last week. Some 30,000 survivors are still without electricity or drinking water.

The floods have devastated multiple regions in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rheinland-Palatinate, which are now bracing for even more rainfall.

Officials issue warnings through social media

German authorities offered evacuation to residents of the recently flooded areas along the Ahr River, according to public broadcaster WDR. 

Localized showers are expected in the river valley.

While the situation is "not as dire as last week" the region no longer has a properly working sewage system, said the head of the local emergency response staff. This would make the effects of the rain different then before.

The weather agency also warned of increased storm risk in the state of Saarland, which borders Rheinland-Palatinate. Germany's southern Alpine regions, near Switzerland and Austria, are also at risk of "severe thunderstorms with strong showers, squalls ... and hail." 

German authorities said they were using social media and flyers to warn people in areas that might be affected.

Storms likely to be 'localized'

It is predicted this weekend's weather will include heavy showers, thunderstorms and hail, but experts also said storms are expected to be "strictly localized."

Rainfall of around 10 to 25 liters per square meter (57 to 142 cubic inches per square foot) over a one to three-hour period is anticipated in North Rhine-Westphalia, which is Germany's most populous state.

Fact check: The fake images of the German floods

In isolated cases up to 40 liters per square meter (227 cubic inches per square foot) of rain is possible.

However, as we move into Sunday, the showers and thunderstorms will move with some momentum in a northerly direction towards Lower Saxony, where the storms are expected to dissipate.

DPA contributed to this article

John Silk Editor and writer for English news, as well as the Culture and Asia Desks.@JSilk