The low water level of the Rhine is a burden on shipping and animals
Friday August 12, 2022 at 06:57: The level of the Rhine, which has been unusually low for days, is expected to drop by another 10 to 15 cm in the next three to four days due to the ongoing drought. The Rhine Water and Shipping Authority has announced that a slight relaxation can only be expected from the middle of next week.
Fall 2018 record lows likely won’t be reached on NRW’s big scales in Cologne, Dusseldorf and Duisburg. In Cologne, the lowest in October 2018 was 69 cm, and on Thursday afternoon it was still 88 cm. In Dusseldorf, the water level dropped to 49cm on Thursday afternoon – plus 1.50m in the waterway – but the record low in 2018 was 23cm. The distance in Duisburg-Rohrt was 172 centimeters on Thursday afternoon – in the fall about four years ago 153 centimeters.
But even without negative records, the low water level causes major problems for shipping. The Rhine ferry Dormagen-Zons-Düsseldorf has already stopped operating due to low water, and the Cologne-Düsseldorfer Rheinschifffahrt does not go to many Rhine stations, including Bad Honnef south of Bonn.
In the port of Cologne-Godorf, cargo ships laden with rock salt only occasionally arrive with about a third of the usual tonnage due to the low water level, according to Cologne Ports and Cargo Shipping (HGK) spokesman Christian Lorenz. Lorenz says the HGK ferry between Cologne and Leverkusen is “still running”. If the water level drops below 80 cm, this may change, or trucks or tractors will not be moved initially.
Of course, if companies have to spread their cargo across more ships, this makes transportation more expensive, if there are enough ships or alternatives like trains or trucks. This is especially true for bulk commodities such as steam coal, which are currently in high demand. The Coal Importers Association predicts that “this winter we will certainly import more than 30 million tons.” According to the association, about two-thirds of coal imports into Germany are transported via the Rhine from the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp.
It will also be difficult for fish: although the water temperature in the Rhine River near Düsseldorf at 23 and 24 degrees Celsius is still below the critical threshold for fish permanently above 26 degrees Celsius, a city spokesperson explained. However, the oxygen-binding capacity of water decreases with higher temperatures. At the same time, as the water level drops, the animals retreat into the deep shipping channels, where they constantly have to avoid the movement of cargo. Both put pressure on the fish and put them under stress.
Entirely new horizons are opening up due to the low water level in Emmerich, just before the German-Dutch border. The water level there was just 16cm outside the driveway on Thursday afternoon. A free 1.80m distance was kept as a shipping lane. “Can tall people now walk across the river?” asked the Rheinische Post (Thursday). “It is better to leave it alone,” advise all experts. Even the low river still has life-threatening currents.
The current weather forecast for the coming days promises high temperatures in Germany
Thursday, August 11 2022, 07:55: The day will be mostly dry and very warm to hot. Heavy thunderstorms expected early next week. Scattered thunderstorms with heavy rain, hail and storms can occur in the far southeast on Friday starting in the afternoon. On Saturday, sporadic thunderstorms over the eastern and southeastern low mountain ranges cannot be ruled out. The drought continues.
The heat load will increase on Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday there will be a temporary increase in the possibility of thunderstorms, some of which will be severe.
Bathing ban: Blue-green algae spoils the pleasure of bathing in Lower Saxony
Wednesday 10 August 2022, 06:55: Due to the high incidence of blue-green algae, swimmers and day hikers should be especially careful in some of the bathing spots in Lower Saxony. There is currently a ban on showers in five places in the state, the state health office in Hanover announced upon request. Accordingly, bathing in three of them is prohibited due to cyanobacteria, that is, blue-green algae. Both the Gartower See in Wendland and the Juessee in Herzberg am Harz were affected. Warning notices also apply to many other bathing areas, including the large inland lakes of Lower Saxony, Zwischenahner Meer, Steinhuder Meer and Dümmer.
Blue-green algae cause skin irritation. If swallowed, it can also cause dizziness and vomiting, which can last for several days. Swimmers should pay attention to local information and check depth of view, the state health department advises. “The rule of thumb is: If the depth of view is too low due to greenish clouds to see your feet in knee-deep water, you shouldn’t shower,” said a microbiologist with the Urich Office of Health. Catherine Lowden.
According to the state health office, it is not unusual for blue-green algae to appear in many bathing lakes. Occurrence mainly depends on the water temperature, duration of solar radiation and available nutrients. “If warm weather continues, large numbers of cyanobacteria can be expected in other bathing areas, while what is happening in currently affected areas may actually decline again,” the agency said upon request.
South Korea: At least seven killed due to bad weather
Tuesday 9 August 2022 09:06: Storms and floods have killed at least seven people in South Korea. According to reports from South Korean radio stations, six people were missing on Tuesday morning (local time). In the city of Seoul and adjacent areas in the northern part of the country, homes, streets, fields and subway stations were inundated with water. Many lanes and stations are temporarily closed. Since Monday, the capital region has witnessed heavy rain. The Met Office announced more heavy rain.
The highest amount of rainfall in 80 years was measured in Donggak District, south of Seoul, according to the national news agency Yonhap, citing the Meteorological Bureau. At one time, more than 141 liters of rain fell per square meter per hour.
In the area, a city employee was reportedly killed while trying to remove a fallen tree. It is believed that he died as a result of electrocution. Three people drowned in their basement apartment in Guanac. In the same neighborhood, a body was recovered from a flooded apartment, too. A body was pulled from the rubble of a collapsed bus station in Gyeonggi Province, and another person was killed in a landslide.
President Yoon Seok Yeol has instructed authorities to evacuate people from areas most at risk of flooding.
Severe weather warning also in North Korea
North Korea also issued a warning of heavy rain on Tuesday. According to North Korean radio reports, the warning extends to the southern parts of the country. There were no reports of damage in the largely isolated country.
You can find more information about weather conditions in the following pages.