In the past few days, water from the melting snow has been cascading into German rivers.
The Rhine was yesterday flowing from the Alps at five times its normal February volume, and is expected to reach the 9-metre mark today at the south German city of Karlsruhe for the first time this century.
Two flood plains which were opened up at the weekend to divert the torrent were already half full. French engineers were hoping to avert the danger by diverting some of the water to polders.
Makeshift dykes erected to protect buildings in the ancient university town of Heidelberg were crumbling under the force of the River Neckar. Streets of the wine villages of the Mosel were inundated, the Saar burst its banks, and river traffic stopped in much of southern Germany.
Weather reports brought news of more heavy rain in Switzerland, where parts of Basel stood under water. More rain, sleet and snow is expected over south-west Germany.Reuse content