Rain forecast indicates Rhine in danger of hitting flood levels

5 Jul 2021

Quantum Commodity Intelligence - The Rhine, Europe’s most important river for transporting energy products and commodities, could reach near flood status by 12-13 July, data from Germany’s Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) showed Monday.

The river is expected to swell over the coming days, helped by plentiful rainfall over Germany and Switzerland and late snowmelt in the Alps.

At Kaub, near many of Germany’s industries, water levels are likely to rise from current levels of 3.5 metres to around 4.5 metres by 12-13 July, only just below the high-water mark of 4.6 metres for the location. The forecast is close enough to warrant attention, as a slightly higher rainfall total could trigger navigation restrictions.

Further down the river, however, current forecasts are reassuring and do not point to flood status being reached next week. In Cologne, the river will reach 5 metres by 12-13 July, a significant level, but below the high-water threshold of 6.2 metres for the location. In Duisburg, water levels will climb to 6 metres, well below the 11.3 metres high-water mark.

The months of May and June have both seen higher rainfall than over the previous five years, data from Germany’s weather service DWD showed.

June 2021 was the rainiest June month since 2016 when there was significant flooding on the river, the same data showed. As a result, soils around the river are currently very wet for the time of year.

In addition, relatively low temperatures have contributed to a late snowmelt season in the Alps. An average 85 centimetres of snow remained at high-altitude stations in the Alps, data from MeteoSwiss showed, up from 42 centimetres on average over the last five years and zero at the same time last year.