Flooding affects parts of Europe after heavy rainfall

Foam washed up by the high water of the Aisch river has piled up at the bridge near the Lauf mill in Lauf, Germany, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Nicolas Armer/dpa via AP)
Foam washed up by the high water of the Aisch river has piled up at the bridge near the Lauf mill in Lauf, Germany, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Nicolas Armer/dpa via AP)

Credit: Nicolas Armer

Credit: Nicolas Armer

Storms have caused heavy flooding across parts of western and central Europe overnight, and a man swept away by a raging stream in eastern Germany remains missing

BERLIN (AP) — Storms caused heavy flooding across parts of western and central Europe overnight, and a man swept away by a raging stream in eastern Germany remained missing Wednesday.

Firefighters resumed their search for the man in the Saxony state town of Joehstadt on Wednesday morning. German news agency dpa reported that he had been trying to secure his property from rising waters when he disappeared.

Firefighters in the city of Hagen, in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, rescued several drivers whose vehicles got stuck in a flooded underpass. Videos on social media showed streets in the western German city filled with knee-high water and others buried by landslides.

A fallen tree trapped a woman in the German town of Mettmann, and responders had to hold her head up to keep her from drowning in rising flood waters until firefighters could free her. Residents in nearby Erkrath were warned not to shower or use their washers because rain had overloaded the local sewage system.

Hof county in Bavaria issued a disaster alert late Tuesday as basements filled with water, trees were uprooted and some areas lost power overnight. Germany’s DWD weather service said the region saw 80 liters (more than 21 gallons) of rain per square meter in the space of 12 hours.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert described the images from regions hardest hit by flooding as “terrible.”

“Even though not every event, not every flooding or local incident, is related to climate change, many scientists tell us that the frequency, the intensity and the regularity with which this happens is a consequence of climate change,” Seibert said.

DWD meteorologists predicted further “extreme storms” in the western and central parts of Germany through Thursday, with peak rainfall possibly reaching 200 liters per square meter.

In the the neighboring Czech Republic, firefighters received 800 calls about incidents ranging from fallen trees to flooded basements. A highway linking the capital, Prague, to the east of the country partly flooded overnight. Thousands of households remained without electricity Wednesday.

Mud inundated houses in some towns in eastern Belgium as sustained rains hit the Ardennes hills hard. The tourist center of Spa, close to the famed Formula One track, could not handle the water streaming down from the surrounding hills that turned streets into rivers.

Cars piled on top of one another and cellars flooded, but no serious injuries were reported.

The Belgian meteorological institute issued a red alert Wednesday for the zone around Liege, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Brussels, which was forecast get more rain in a day than the area would normally receive in a whole summer month. The rain is expected to last until Friday.

Authorities in the Netherlands warned the heavy rainfall in the southern province of Limburg could turn streams into dangerously fast-flowing torrents and urged the public to stay away from them. Boat owners were advised to steer clear of the Maas river due to strong currents and debris being washed downstream.

Dutch media showed people being rescued Tuesday from a historic mill in the Netherlands that was partially submerged under floodwaters estimated at 1.5 meters (5 feet) high.

Swollen rivers were expected to overflow into their floodplains later in the week, which is unusual in the summer. It more often happens in the spring when rivers such as the Rhine and the Maas rise due to melting snow in European hills and mountains.

In Switzerland, authorities raised the flood warning for Lake Lucerne to the highest level and banned all shipping.

France's national weather service issued warnings Wednesday for five regions in the country's northeast. area. Much of France has seen an unusually cool and wet summer so far.

Meanwhile, parts of southeastern Europe have been experiencing a heat wave. Temperatures in Albania and neighboring Kosovo reached 35-37 degrees Celsius (95-99 F ) on Wednesday.

No deaths have been reported from the heat wave so far. Authorities strongly urging the public, especially children and older adults, to stay home during the day.

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Mike Corder in The Hague, Karel Janicek in Prague, Angela Charlton in Paris, Raf Casert in Belgium and Llazar Semini in Tirana contributed to this report.

A car, submerged up to the roof in water, is parked in front of a flooded garage in Duesseldorf, Germany, Wednesday morning, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (David Young/dpa via AP)
A car, submerged up to the roof in water, is parked in front of a flooded garage in Duesseldorf, Germany, Wednesday morning, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (David Young/dpa via AP)

Credit: David Young

Credit: David Young

A man walks by damaged cars in a flooded street in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)
A man walks by damaged cars in a flooded street in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

The water masses have crushed a wall of a house and are flowing through a building in Hagen, Germany, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Alex Forstreuther/dpa via AP)
The water masses have crushed a wall of a house and are flowing through a building in Hagen, Germany, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Alex Forstreuther/dpa via AP)

Credit: Alex Forstreuther

Credit: Alex Forstreuther

Fire engines and a car are parked on a flooded road in Hagen, Germany, on Wednesday morning, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Alex Talash/dpa via AP)
Fire engines and a car are parked on a flooded road in Hagen, Germany, on Wednesday morning, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Alex Talash/dpa via AP)

Credit: Alex Talash

Credit: Alex Talash

Water is flowing down a street in Hagen, Germany, Wednesday morning, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Alex Talash/dpa via AP)
Water is flowing down a street in Hagen, Germany, Wednesday morning, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Alex Talash/dpa via AP)

Credit: Alex Talash

Credit: Alex Talash

A woman walks past fire trucks at a flooded street with an umbrella Duesseldorf, Germany, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (David Young/dpa via AP)
A woman walks past fire trucks at a flooded street with an umbrella Duesseldorf, Germany, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (David Young/dpa via AP)

Credit: David Young

Credit: David Young

Water floods the street in the district of Steinbach in Jöhstadt, Germany, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. A violent storm had fallen on the town. Heavy summer storms caused widespread damage and flooding Tuesday in Germany and Switzerland. (Andre März/dpa via AP)
Water floods the street in the district of Steinbach in Jöhstadt, Germany, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. A violent storm had fallen on the town. Heavy summer storms caused widespread damage and flooding Tuesday in Germany and Switzerland. (Andre März/dpa via AP)

Credit: Andre März

Credit: Andre März

Water runs through the community after heavy rains, some of which flooded in Seblitz, Germany, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Heavy summer storms caused widespread damage and flooding Tuesday in Germany and Switzerland. (Bernd M'rz/dpa via AP)
Water runs through the community after heavy rains, some of which flooded in Seblitz, Germany, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Heavy summer storms caused widespread damage and flooding Tuesday in Germany and Switzerland. (Bernd M'rz/dpa via AP)

Credit: Bernd M'rz

Credit: Bernd M'rz

A man takes a cold shower in order to refresh himself at Ada Ciganlija Lake in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Hot weather has set in with temperatures rising up to 38 Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) in Belgrade. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A man takes a cold shower in order to refresh himself at Ada Ciganlija Lake in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Hot weather has set in with temperatures rising up to 38 Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) in Belgrade. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Credit: Darko Vojinovic

Credit: Darko Vojinovic

A man walks by damaged cars in a flooded street in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)
A man walks by damaged cars in a flooded street in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

Wheel loaders and tractors clear mud and debris from the flooded federal highway 54 in Rummenohl, western Germany, Wednesday, July 13, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Jonas Guettler/dpa via AP)
Wheel loaders and tractors clear mud and debris from the flooded federal highway 54 in Rummenohl, western Germany, Wednesday, July 13, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. (Jonas Guettler/dpa via AP)

Credit: Jonas Guettler

Credit: Jonas Guettler

Mud and water fill the ground floor of a house flooded by rainwater in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)
Mud and water fill the ground floor of a house flooded by rainwater in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

A car sits balanced on a stone wall in a flooded street in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)
A car sits balanced on a stone wall in a flooded street in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

A man looks at damaged cars in a flooded street in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)
A man looks at damaged cars in a flooded street in Mery, Province of Liege, Belgium, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A code red was issued in parts of Belgium on Wednesday as severe rains hit the area. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

Credit: Valentin Bianchi

Three cyclists ride through water on flooded Highway 54 in Rummenohl, western Germany, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. ( Guettler/dpa via AP)
Three cyclists ride through water on flooded Highway 54 in Rummenohl, western Germany, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Storms caused widespread flooding across central Germany overnight, with authorities warning that more rain is on the way. ( Guettler/dpa via AP)

Credit: Jonas Güttler

Credit: Jonas Güttler