Flooding has reached the eastern German city of Madeburg, with water levels above those of 2002's "flood of the century." More than 3,000 people have already left their homes for emergency shelters.
Water levels in Magdeburg reached 7.45 meters early Sunday morning, more than 70 centimeters above levels reached during the last catastrophic floods in 2002. That year, the maximum level reached by the Elbe river was 6.72 meters.
A water level of about two meters is normal around Magdeburg, the state capital of Saxony-Anhalt.
The city of Magdeburg set up emergency shelters for citizens who have been forced to leave their homes.
"We need to be ready for everything," said the city's mayor, Lutz Trümper.
German President Joachim Gauck traveled to parts of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt that have been affected by the flooding on Sunday. In those two states, 8,000 soldiers from the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, have been called into action to help with flood-fighting measures. Soldiers have also been deployed to other parts of the country to help with sandbagging efforts of evacuations.
The Sunday edition of the Leipzige Volkszeitung newspaper carried a story citing government sources saying the government would hold a flood crisis summit this week to discuss how the massive costs associated with the damage from the flooding are to be shared between federal and state authorities.
Gerde Hasselfeldt, a parliamentarian from Bavaria's Christian Social Union, told the newspaper that due to the large sums involved, some government plans may have to be put on hold temporarily.
Preliminary estimates suggest the national cost of this year's floods may exceed those of 2002, which stood at roughly 11 billion euros ($14.5 billion).
mz,dr/rc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)