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Elbe floods recede slowly: alert level 1 remains in place

A historic steamer of the Saxon Steamship Company sails on the Elbe / Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa
A historic steamer of the Saxon Steamship Company sails on the Elbe / Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa

The Elbe continues to flood in Saxony. In the Czech catchment area of the river as well as the Vltava, water levels are receding very slowly, and there continues to be an increased release from the Vltava cascade, Karin Bernhardt, spokeswoman for the State Office for the Environment, Agriculture and Geology, said Wednesday. "As a result, water levels at the Elbe gauges in Saxony will continue to move at high levels with fluctuations." The authority expects that the alert level 1 in Schöna, Dresden and Riesa will be undercut only at the weekend.

At the Dresden gauge, the water level has been falling again since Tuesday morning, and at noon on Wednesday it was 4.01 meters. The forecast of the Landeshochwasserzentrum still goes until Thursday evening, the limit of four meters will then be undercut only in the early Friday morning. Normal are below the Augustusbrücke two meters, at the flood of the century in 2002, it was 9.40 meters.

The river had filled steadily after persistent rainfall, especially in its Czech catchment area last weekend, on Monday had been declared in Dresden the alert level 1. In some places, it has overflowed its banks. According to the city administration, some sections of the Elbe cycle path, such as in Niederwartha and at the Blaues Wunder in Loschwitz, are still of limited use. Road closures there are none.

Decisive for the situation in the Saxon section of the river is the weather in the upper reaches of the Elbe, 95 percent of which is fed from its catchment area and the Vltava in the Czech Republic. The water arrives in Germany several hours late. The last time the Elbe exceeded the guideline values for alert level 1 was in Schöna, Dresden and Riesa in February 2021 - albeit at higher water levels. "These were the highest observed water levels since the June 2013 flood," Bernhardt said. The last time there was an Elbe flood in April was in 2006, he said. On that occasion, heavy rain coincided with melting snow in the Czech Republic - and at gauges in Saxony, the river swelled to alert level 4.

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