General Question

LuckyGuy's avatar

How much rain did Germany receive to cause the recent flooding?

Asked by LuckyGuy (39600points) 1 week ago

The situation looks awful. How many centimeters of rain caused these floods?
When there are reports of flooding in the US, the rain depth is usually reported in the first sentence, e.g. “Dallas received 10 inches of rain in 12 hours resulting in floods that…”

I see videos of the flooding in Germany but can’t tell how much rain caused it.
Surely the rain depth numbers are available. Any ideas?

Are our German friends OK?

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19 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

One article I read said 154mm or 6 inches in 24 hours. The German area is hilly in comparison to Dallas or Houston. So it all flows to the bottom of the valleys where the cities and villages are located.

ragingloli's avatar

Rivers get fed from all sorts of places, so flooding in one place does not necessarily have anything to do with rainfall in that area.
They already expect another wave of flooding caused by high rainfall in Switzerland.

LuckyGuy's avatar

“154mm or 6 inches in 24 hours”
OK, those are numbers I can relate to.

I have a rain gauge at my home so I know what 1 inch in an hour means. FYI At 1 inch per hour, some of the mulch in my garden will wash off.
The most I have ever seen is about 3 inches in 24 hours.

Is there a place to track rainfall in Germany? I have not been able to find it.

ragingloli's avatar

https://www.wetter.com/wetterkarten/niederschlagsmengen/#geo:51.0802,10.4224,6
You can find the colour explanations when you scroll down.

Though we measure rainfall in l/m².

zenvelo's avatar

I did find this in an AP report: “The equivalent of two months of rain has fallen over two days, according to the French national weather service, with flood warnings issued for 10 regions.”

Lonelyheart807's avatar

@LuckyGuy there was an area of (northeast?) Pennsylvania that got 6–10” of rain in 3–4 hours the other day from training thunderstorms that were moving very slow!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Lonelyheart807 See? Those are real numbers provided by the National Weather Service that tell the equivalent depth of the rain. “6–10” of rain in 3–4 hours.”

I did see a comment that said Germany received 80 liters per square meter in 12 hours. Doing the calculation I get that is 8 cm or 3”. Maybe the numbers are simply not reported as frequently as we do in the US.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

@LuckyGuy maybe? I don’t know. I am a self-proclaimed weather nerd, so I’ll have to go back and see what sites had the story (and videos) posted, and then see if they included the total rainfall. Sadly, Belgium has gotten it pretty bad as well.

Update: Here is the link to the story on MSNBC. But you’re right, no rain totals are mentioned. There are also some videos in the link. The whole thing is just horrible!

JLeslie's avatar

A friend of mine who lives near the flooding posted on facebook yesterday about how awful it is and people have died, and she was basically pleading with people to take climate change seriously, and to care for our planet.

Edit: Here is part of what she wrote …Continuing rain is forecast for parts of the west, where water levels in the Rhine river and its tributaries are rising dangerously. There are people dead, there are people missing, there are many who are still in danger … We have never seen such a disaster. It’s really devastating…

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Tropical_Willie That is 14.8 cm, 6 inches in 24 hours. A lot.

chyna's avatar

Is @rebbel’s area getting hit?

Zaku's avatar

Here’s a rainfall unit converter that will convert liters per square meter to inches.
https://www.calculand.com/unit-converter/?gruppe=Precipitation&einheit=Litre+per+square+metre+%5Bl%2Fm%C2%B2%5D

Or, you can multiply the l/m^2 figure by about 0.03937 to get inches.

Blazin_'s avatar

According to CNN, they state that “Large swaths of western Germany saw 24-hour rainfall totals between 100 and 150 millimeters (3.9–5.9 inches), which represent more than a month’s worth of rainfall in this region, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.
Cologne, in North Rhine-Westphalia, recorded 154 millimeters (6 inches) of rainfall in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, which is nearly double its monthly average for July of 87 millimeters. Heavier localized downpours resulted in extreme flash flooding. In Reifferscheid, in the Ahrweiler district, an incredible 207 millimeters (8.1 inches) of rain fell in only nine hours, according to the European Severe Weather Database.”

Source:
Nadine Schmidt, CNN. “Record Rainfall Leaves Over 120 Dead In Western Europe, Devastating Parts Of Germany”. CNN, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/16/europe/germany-deaths-europe-severe-flooding-intl/index.html. Accessed 17 July 2021.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Blazin_ Thanks! Good info! We are having a bit of water at the moment.
I checked my rain gauge and, so far, we have received 22 mm.
This region / my neighborhood is not prone to flooding since it is all gentle, rolling hills that drain into lake Ontario. Flooding is not going to be an issue. The worst thing that will happen is I might lose some mulch from my garden and have some 5 day old grass seed washed away. I can fix that with a quick trip to the Tractor Supply store. Thankfully, I have sump pumps and spares and gasoline and battery backups just in case we lose power.
Right now I am enjoying breakfast to the relaxing sound of rain on the roof.

———Even though the National Weather Service issued the following alert about 2 hours ago:

HEADLINE: Flash Flood Watch issued July 17 at 4:06AM EDT until July 18 at 2:00AM EDT by NWS Buffalo

DESCRIPTION: ...FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT…
The Flash Flood Watch continues for
* Portions of central and western New York, including the following
counties, in central New York, Northern Cayuga and Oswego. In
western New York, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee,
Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Northern Erie, Ontario, Orleans,
Southern Erie, Wayne and Wyoming.
* Through late tonight.
* Steady rainfall will be heavy at times from the Niagara Frontier
to the Rochester area today. Storm total rainfall amounts between
2 and 2.5 inches will be common across this area, and this may
result in flash flooding. In addition, water levels will rise on
many Buffalo area creeks potentially resulting in flooding.
Elsewhere, there`s a risk of thunderstorms to produce locally
heavy rainfall and flash flooding.
* Areas most vulnerable to flooding include urban areas, areas with
higher or steep terrain, and areas which received lots of rainfall
yesterday.

INSTRUCTIONS: You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action
should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

Issued By: NWS Buffalo (Western New York)

Response moderated (Spam)
LuckyGuy's avatar

Our rain storm has finished. We received a total of 2.4 inches, 6 cm in 36 hours with minimal effect.
Some sanitary sewer lines in the region were filled to capacity and untreated sewage was forced into streams and rivers for a short while.

I saw some clips on DW news in Germany and it looks awful. Some of the pictures look like the tsunami in Japan.

JLeslie's avatar

In Germany a damn broke, isn’t that the biggest problem? I assume that’s what caused the most deaths, but I’m just assuming.

Along the Mississippi River, in the US, every few to several years the rains or the ice-melt in the North causes the river to swell more South. The army corps of engineers evacuate areas to purposely flood to try to avoid other areas from flooding and to preserve lives, but a sudden damn breech or something similar would be catastrophic. The system relies on everything working as expected.

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