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Ozarksbill Jun 13th, 2013 08:52 AM

Flooding in Germany
About a year ago (July) we enjoyed a river cruise with Grand Circle on the Elbe River. Beginning in Prague we boarded a ship at Bad Shandau and then navigated the river to historic and scenic places such as Dresden and Meissen and Wittenberg and on to Hamburg.

I'm dismayed at pictures of Meissen, Prague, Budapest and elsewhere due to the flooding of the Elbe and other rivers. And I'm hoping the waters have receded and damage isn't too great. Anyone have any reports or late news?

Bill in Boston

mokka4 Jun 13th, 2013 09:08 AM

Cowboy1968 Jun 13th, 2013 09:11 AM

The waters have receded in Saxony and already somewhat further downstream.
While none of the bigger cities have been seriously hit, huge parts of several States have been under water and the funding for repairs are estimated at appr. $10bn.
Lots of money will also go into improvement of dams as those who had been fortified after the 2002 record flood did their job, while some older dams failed.
As always with these disasters, some almost funny (not really) stories popped up on the sidelines, like of the affluent riverside neighborhood in (I think) Dresden where residents voted against a barrier wall out of aestetical reasons just to find their villas and gardens now a few feet under water...
While it is still too soon to get a real perspective on the damages, I think it can be said that with just a few days more of that rain, the disaster could have turned into a total nightmare for Dresden and Magdeburg and Halle (all major cities), where the water was only 1-3 inches away from going over the dams...
Still, for those not so fortunate, it is a nightmare.. and a costly one, as not everyone was insured or could get insurance..

Ingo Jun 13th, 2013 09:35 AM

Spot on, Cowboy. While the big cities were spared (mostly) the smaller ones were hit very hard. Some small towns like Bad Schandau, Wehlen, Rathen, Königstein or Pirna (all in Saxon Switzerland, where the Elbe is in a very narrow valley, sort of a canyon) cannot be protected - you simply cannot build high enough dams there.

That "affluent" neighbourhood in Dresden you refered to is probably Dresden-Laubegast. I'd say affluent is relative. Not everyone is well-off there, many of the smaller houses are in the same family since many generations back. Building a dam there is a big problem: These houses are only four or five metres from the river, and that room is occupied by the Elbe cycling trail ... Most of these locals are used to the floods and don't complain (much).

Cowboy1968 Jun 13th, 2013 09:41 AM

Ingo, I hope that you had not been affected or lost property due to the floods.

Rail traffic still is seriously affected by closed bridges and such.
I've hardly ever seen the flights from Munich to Berlin and v.v. so expensive and so packed - as also high speed trains still take time-consuming detours via other bridges (mostly across the Elbe river).

Ingo Jun 13th, 2013 09:44 AM

No, not affected, thank you.

Yep, rail is a problem (bus in Saxon Switzerland, too.)

For anyone traveling Berlin - Dresden - Prague (or vice versa) in the next weeks: Trains use to be 50 minutes late at least, in either direction.

yodababe Jun 13th, 2013 11:51 AM

Just dropped my husband off at the train station in our town of Erlangen, near Nuremberg. His train to Frankfurt was on time. The train to Munich was over an hour late.

Hans Jun 13th, 2013 02:47 PM

"Most of these locals are used to the floods and don't complain (much)."

I come from the Rhine area where in my youth (and probably still today) floodings were quite common. If you're used to them, it's not fun but in the end most people see the repairs as the price you pay for the rest of the time when you enjoy living next to the Rhine.

Ozarksbill Jun 28th, 2013 04:09 AM

What is the latest on flooding in the Elbe River area, Prague, Budapest, etc? Assuming waters receded, how about after effects?

Ingo Jun 29th, 2013 12:43 AM

No problem in the big cities. In Dresden e.g. the annual festival along the riverside from Loschwitz to Pillnitz (Elbhangfest) takes place just as planned this weekend.

No problems in Prague, either. And not in Budapest as far as I know.

The small towns along the Elbe river that were flooded struggle hard, though. Many hotels and restaurants right by the river are closed for renovation for a couple of months. In my area the National Park Saxon Switzerland is severely affected, for example. Bad Schandau, Rathen, Königstein (the town, not the fortress), Wehlen. In the Czech Republic Hrensko in Bohemian Switzerland e.g. is sort of dead at the moment and for the next couple of months, I think. But again, this concerns the places right in the valley only - 95% of the hiking trails etc. are fine.

harriet_hughes Jun 29th, 2013 01:41 AM

We were in Budapest first week of June. High water shut down river traffic bythe end of the week and a few train stops were closed, plus no going to Margaret Island but the city escaped any serious damage I understand. Szentendre upriver looked to be in more peril. Hope they escaped damage, too.

Ozarksbill Jul 3rd, 2013 06:28 AM

Just viewed a June 11 photo in Newsweek of the Elbe River flooding at Tangermunde which we visited last July. Quite extensive.

KL467 Jul 4th, 2013 07:56 PM

I arrived in Europe on June 14 and traveled to Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. Things looked normal, for the most part. We did have interrupted train service (due to flooding) on our trip from Budapest to Vienna and had to ride a bus for about an hour.

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