catastrophic flooding in western Europe has killed quite 100 people, with hundreds more missing, authorities said Friday, as large-scale rescue efforts continue amidst rising water, landslides, and power outages. Shocking images of the devastation in Germany and Belgium showed entire villages underwater, with cars wedged in between collapsed buildings and debris. Netherlands and Luxembourg have also been suffering from acute rainfall. In Germany, a minimum of 93 people is killed across two western states. within the hard-hit district of Ahrweiler, within the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, authorities told CNN that the price was likely to rise. “There is not an end in view just yet,” Ulrich Copart, a police spokesman within the city of Koblenz, told CNN. There are currently 1,300 people unaccounted for in Ahrweiler, he said, adding that authorities are hopeful that they’re going to be ready to revise down that number because the operation continues and phone lines are restored.
”Our hopes are that some people may need been registered as missing twice or maybe 3 times — if for instance a loved one, a piece colleague or a lover has registered an individual as missing,” Copart said. ”Also, [in] some places phone lines are still down and reception is difficult. We do hope that folks will get in-tuned with a relative, work colleague, or friend to allow them to know they’re fine,” he said. At least 165,000 people are currently without power in Rhineland-Palatinate and therefore the neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia, authorities told CNN.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, where a minimum of 43 people has died, the state’s Interior Ministry spokeswoman Katja Heins told CNN: ”The situation remains very dynamic – we don’t skills many of us are unaccounted for.” The German states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland are the worst suffering from the record rainfall, which authorities have called the heaviest during a century.
”In some areas we’ve not seen the maximum amount rainfall in 100 years,” a spokesperson for the German weather service DWD said, adding that in those regions, they need “seen quite double the quantity of rainfall,” causing flooding and structures to collapse. Large swaths of western Germany saw 24-hour rainfall totals between 100 and 150 millimeters (3.9-5.9 inches), which represent quite a month’s worth of rainfall during this region, consistent with CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. Cologne, in North Rhine-Westphalia, recorded 154 millimeters (6 inches) of rainfall within the 24 hours to Thursday morning, which is almost double its monthly average for July of 87 millimeters.
Heavier localized downpours resulted in extreme flash flooding. In Reifferscheid, within the Ahrweiler district, a fantastic 207 millimeters (8.1 inches) of rain fell in just nine hours, consistent with the ECU Severe Weather Database. The intense deluges were the results of a slow-moving area of low, which allowed a conveyer belt of warm and moist air to fuel powerful thunderstorms and heavy, long-lasting rain, consistent with the German weather service. Extreme rainfall is becoming more common within the warming climate, as warmer air can hold more water vapor that’s available to fall as rain. “Climate change has arrived in Germany,” Environment Minister Svenja Schulze tweeted Thursday, adding that “the events show with what force the results of global climate change can affect us all, and the way important it’s for us to regulate to extreme weather events within the future.”
Hannah Cloke, a professor of hydrology at the UK’s University of Reading, told CNN that “these quite high-energy, sudden summer torrents of rain are exactly what we expect in our rapidly heating climate.” On Thursday, the DWD predicted that the “worst of the torrential rainfall is over,” although more heavy rain is predicted in southwestern Germany on Friday. In neighboring Belgium, a minimum of 14 people have died, authorities said Friday, with an extra five people within the southern region of Wallonia still unaccounted for. Some 21,000 people also are without electricity in Wallonia, consistent with energy supplier Ores, who said that things across the facility network remain “extremely complicated.” Some 300 distribution points are flooded and impossible to succeed in, it said.