Update Bonn The Rhine water level is continuing to rise. On Monday morning, it reached the seven-meter mark. The first riverbank areas are already full of water and the municipal authorities in Bonn are having cars towed away on the Brassertufer. Measures are being taken in other towns too
Melted snow and the recent heavy rain have caused the water level of the Rhine in Bonn to rise. There has been flooding since the weekend and on Monday morning the level reached the seven-meter mark. By the middle of the week, it could rise above 8 meters.
At the Pegel (water gauge) in Cologne on Sunday, the Rhine Flood Control Center reported that a peak level is expected on early Wednesday. Afterwards the level will not drop immediately because of expected rainfall, it said. “It will probably be a long-drawn-out wave,” said a spokeswoman for the municipal drainage company in Cologne.
In Bonn, the water level reached on Sunday can already have significant effects for the district of Beuel - the promenade along the riverbank will flood from a level of seven meters. At the Rathenauufer between the Erster and Zweiter Fährgasse it also becomes critical from a level of seven meters. The riverside promenade at Alter Zoll will be flooded from a level of 7.50 meters.
As announced by the municipal authorities in Bonn on Friday, the city's public order office had already begun to inform the owners of vehicles parked in the Brassertufer area so that they can move their cars in good time. The city points out that vehicles parked there will be towed away from a water level of 6.50 meters. Free parking areas are already provisionally closed off. On Sunday, the remaining cars on Brassertufer were towed away by the city as a precaution.
What are the consequences of reaching certain water levels?
At a water level of 6.20 to 6.40 meters, the Mondorf ferry must be closed, and at 6.80 meters, navigation on the Rhine ceases. From seven meters, the dam gates in Beuel between Wolfsgasse and Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Strasse are closed, and on the left side of the Rhine, the access roads to the riverbank between Schaumburg-Lippe-Strasse up to Legionsweg are shut. The bus stops ‘Bad Godesberg Fähre’ and ‘Bad Godesberg Rheinufer’ will no longer be served. In addition, from 7.40 meters, the number 66 tram line in the Königswinter/Bad Honnef-Rhöndorf area will flood. From 7.50 meters, the riverside promenade "Am Alten Zoll" floods and is no longer passable from eight meters.
The data on water levels are based on measurements taken by the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration. The measuring station in Bonn is located at Rhine kilometre 654.80.
Tram line 66 discontinued
The 66 tram was running until Sunday noon to Bad Honnef and then switched to a replacement service. The ferry from Niederdollendorf had already stopped service earlier. Here the promenade was under water. At the Steinchen in Rhöndorf, the water level led to the closure of the road to Königswinter. The water level in Andernach exceeded the seven-meter mark in the afternoon. But the Honnef Rhine ferry "Siebengebirge" can continue to operate up to the Andernach water level of 8.80 meters.
On Sunday the inhabitants of Linz and the areas up to Königswinter also prepared for the announced flooding. In the old town in Königswinter, the Rhine rose up near to the donkey statue and partially spilled onto the Rheinallee. At noon, the fire department came to the riverbank to close the access road. Michael Bungarz, head of the Königswinter volunteer fire department, was out with a twenty-person force, taking precautions for the next few days during which the water could rise even further - namely over 800 centimeters. The fire department built walkways in Kellerstraße, Tomberger Straße and Altenberger Gasse.
“We do not believe there will be an extreme situation this time. But we know exactly what we have to do up to a level of 10.5 meters, as we have the empirical values from 1993 and 1995,” stressed Bungarz. Tips for proper preparation can be found on the websites of the Königswinter and Bad Honnef fire departments.
Corona and now high water: Heinz Kremer from the H&H restaurant brought his stock to safety with a moving company. “But we're closed anyway,” he said with bitter humor. Next door, the Rheinhotel “battened down the hatches”. Kevin Baum from one of the specially hired companies explained, “we’ve put steel beams and bankirai on the outer walls. And we laid out over 200 sandbags before that.”
Ferry services suspended
The rising water level also has an impact on the ferry service. On Saturday, the passenger ferry ‘Nixe’ between Remagen and Erpel ceased operation. Due to the high water levels, the ferry service between Niederdollendorf and Bad Godesberg is also suspended with immediate effect.
Passers-by who wanted to board the ferry ‘Königswinter IV’ shortly before 2 p.m. were warned by managing director Michael Birk, “this is the last trip across to Mehlem. We're not coming back.” He put up a warning sign that read ‘Ferry out of service’. According to Birk, the peak is announced for Wednesday and Thursday.
The car ferry between Linz and Remagen-Kripp also had to stop. “For the car ferry, we need a level of 7.15 meters at Andernach, for the passenger ferry even 6.40 meters - both levels with a falling trend. Otherwise, safe ferry operation is not possible,” explained Managing Director Udo Scholl.
Effects in Rhineland-Palatinate
Early on Sunday afternoon, the water overflowed along the Bad Breisig Rhine promenade, when the water level in Koblenz, which is used as a measure by the fire department, was 6.17 meters. The Rhine had already broken its banks on Saturday in the area between Biergasse and the Kurpark. “We have set up a hotline and on Sunday at noon we informed people via Katwarn, where an emergency can be reported,” said the head of the Bad Breisig fire brigade, Ronny Zilligen. In addition, flyers have been distributed in the endangered areas. He explained that they will wait and see how the situation develops before taking further measures. This could be the case on Monday or Tuesday, if the seven meters predicted in Koblenz are reached. The fire station is not permanently manned at the moment due to corona, but all members were contacted by telephone to ensure their readiness for action.
In Remagen and the surrounding area the situation was still relaxed on Sunday, said city fire chief Ingo Wolf. Here, critical water levels are expected on Tuesday. “We have built isolated walkways in Kripp and helped people to clear the banks,” Wolf said. In Kripper Quellenstraße, the fire department will staff a construction trailer as an information and storage centre from Monday. Operation of the Linz to Remagen ferry was suspended at 6 p.m. on Sunday. In Remagen, the inhabitants were informed about the upcoming flooding via loudspeaker trucks, in Oberwinter and Rolandswerth everything was still quiet on Sunday. Wolf is concerned about the warmer temperatures announced, as these could cause a rapid thawing of the snow in the Black Forest and thus a second wave. The fire chief is comparing the current developments with the flood of 2018.
Original text: ga
Translation: Caroline Kusch