Bonn · Rain on the Rhine, Ahr and Sieg rivers is causing water levels to rise. For the coming days, weather experts predict more precipitation. Will there be a major flooding situation?
Heavy rainfall in the region has caused the water levels in the region's rivers to rise since the beginning of the week. On Wednesday afternoon, the city of Bonn measured a level of 4.08 meters on the Rhine at 12:45 p.m.; the previous day, the measurement at the same time showed a level of 3.76 meters. The weather forecasts for the region indicate more rain so water levels are expected to continue rising during the week.
The Rhine level already rose over Christmas this year. In Bonn, a water level of over five meters was measured on Boxing Day. In the new year, the level dropped again - to 3.37 meters (as of January 8).
Rhine level in Bonn: More rain in the coming days
According to the German Weather Service (DWD), about 10 liters of precipitation per square meter were expected in Bonn for Wednesday. After that, more rain is expected: "In the coming days, we remain in a westerly weather situation, which is characterized by recurring passing fronts and with them areas of precipitation," says Jana Beck, meteorologist at the DWD in Essen.
But it is not expected to rain continuously, there will be breaks between the stretches of precipitation, according to Beck. She said it is not yet possible to say exactly how long the wet weather phase will last in Bonn and the Ahr and Sieg valleys.
Rhine levels in Bonn: High precipitation in winter not unusual
High precipitation in December and January is not unusual in Bonn, according to Björn Goldhausen of the weather portal "wetter online." "In winter, we have to deal with episodes in which one low pressure system after another passes over Germany." For example, the Rhine level in Bonn reached 6.52 meters at the beginning of January 2022 (as of January 6, 2022).
What are the impacts of the increased precipitation in the region? Locally, smaller floods could occur due to the water levels, explains Goldhausen. Especially the smaller rivers such as the Ahr and Sieg, which absorb water less quickly and react more rapidly to changes in precipitation, could experience minor flooding, according to the expert. He recommends that residents in those areas avoid parking cars near the riverbanks if possible. As of now, however, the experts do not expect a major flood situation.
Rhine levels in Bonn: water has not yet reached warning level
The State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (Lanuv) measures water levels in real time at 85 flood reporting sites in North Rhine-Westphalia, while 14 other measuring stations in NRW are operated by other agencies. According to a Lanuv spokeswoman, only one of the total 99 sites exceeded the lowest warning level on Wednesday afternoon: slight high waters in Hagen-Eckesey.
"Due to the seasonal rainfall, the water levels of our rivers are currently rising. Our flood warning service has therefore issued flood information today for the rivers Mosel and Sieg," writes the Environmental Agency of Rhineland-Palatinate (LFU) on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the LFU, rising water levels are also expected on the Rhine and Ahr, but below the warning levels. The water level forecast of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) shows water levels for the end of next week in the range of high water mark 1, which is a level of 6.20 meters. According to the WSV, however, the readings for the Cologne measuring site can only be determined accurately in the short term.
(Original text: Franziska Klaes; Translation: ck)