Berlin, July 22, 2017: The Flood Again

Again scenes looking like from Roland Emmerich’s “Day After Tomorrow”. Roughly three weeks after the flooding with lots of damage the German capital was again hit by severe weather. A thunderstorm and torrential rain hit the city on Saturday afternoon when many people were celebrating the Christopher-Street-Day-Parade. Luckily it didn’t affect much of the parade, but also this time there was a state of exception.

In some parts of the city particularly in the North and North-East but also in the South-West a lot of rain came down, and in Pankow, a storm left a trace of destruction. Trees fell on cars, the S-Bahn Linie 2 commuter train was interrupted in the North for some time, also the tracks of a street-car were affected.

Also again there was a lot of water on some streets turning them into canals like three weeks before. It’s noteworthy that often car drivers are obviously not conscious about the danger for their cars and perhaps also for themselves: if you drive into a puddle of water and the level of water is high enough its possible the water is sucked into the air filter. Subsequently, the engine could be completely destroyed. Cars could also become deadly traps if the car is drowning in a flooded underpass and the doors cannot any longer be opened.

If possible try to avoid driving when these type of flash-floods occur which are a novelty in Germany with this kind of intense rain and also the fact that we have now repeated events of that kind in shorter time-periods during summer.

It certainly looks like one of the predicted effects of climate change; for a long time, scientists warned of higher levels of moist air in the atmosphere during summertime. These wet air masses can lead to more extreme weather like heavy thunderstorms and extreme rain.

Obviously, it’s not yet possible to have a more precise forecast or nowcast about thunderstorms with extreme flooding. Forecasts were very precise this day about the time when the bad weather was supposed to arrive around 3-4pm in the afternoon, and there was also a warning about heavy rain, but it’s, of course, impossible to say where exactly the most extreme events do happen.

For example, the south-west of Berlin is usually less affected by severe thunderstorms as the North but there are exceptions from the rule. This time an underpass in Zehlendorf (South-West) got flooded. During the last event, the biggest mass of rain hit quarters in the west (Wilmersdorf) and a city north of Berlin, Oranienburg, where thunderstorms are more often.

Luckily the rain didn’t last as long as two weeks ago. Therefore it was another extreme day for police and fire-starters but it should be less damage as during the previous extreme weather event.