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Rhine water levels 2021 and similar topics


notamermaid
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Lake Constance remains on low flooding status. Rain will keep the level high and make the Maxau level rise again fast. Right now that is 681cm and the current forecast is for reaching 750cm during tomorrow which would lead to the suspension of river traffic. Another spike which is a rarity in August.

 

notamermaid

 

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So, that was indeed close. The level at Maxau has gone down to 734cm. It will stay above 700cm well into Thursday, the forecast for after that becomes too uncertain and will depend on the rain in Switzerland and the hills surrounding the Upper Rhine valley.

 

As regards river traffic bans and slow traffic we are not out of the woods yet.

 

notamermaid

 

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Rain will fall over most of the whole Rhine valley (all countries) today and tomorrow. In consequence, the river will remain high - and rise. At Maxau the level stands at 709cm and is forecast to rise, but reaching 750cm is not likely as of now. There is still a slight risk of that happening, we will need to wait for tomorrow's hydrology computer calculations to know more.

 

While we wait, let Deutsche Welle take us through the Middle Rhine valley - yes, the Rhine Gorge again, but with some clever modern drone footage. If you have so far not considered coming to the Rhine valley, you will in my humble opinion after this video: https://youtu.be/2XElvTqJVWA

 

notamermaid

 

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After a dip through the night, the level at Maxau is forecast to rise again during Sunday. The current prediction is that in the worst case scenario the level will get to just over 750cm on Monday but the most likely figure will be around 730cm. Next week will bring warmer temperatures and less rain so that after this weekend's rain has drained off the river has a chance of falling to levels in the Upper Rhine valley that could bring it out of mild flooding status. A chance only, not certain, as Lake Constance and some rivers in Switzerland remain high.

 

It is an unusual August in more ways than one, but at least the unusual case of not seeing river cruise ships on the river is almost over as most cruise lines have deployed their ships again, or will soon, not the whole fleets but a very substantial number. The first five ships I saw I greeted with child-like enthusiasm as if it were March 😀!

 

And the excursion boats that are so much part of normal river traffic are out and about, too.

 

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12 hours ago, notamermaid said:

After a dip through the night, the level at Maxau is forecast to rise again during Sunday. The current prediction is that in the worst case scenario the level will get to just over 750cm on Monday but the most likely figure will be around 730cm. Next week will bring warmer temperatures and less rain so that after this weekend's rain has drained off the river has a chance of falling to levels in the Upper Rhine valley that could bring it out of mild flooding status. A chance only, not certain, as Lake Constance and some rivers in Switzerland remain high.

 

It is an unusual August in more ways than one, but at least the unusual case of not seeing river cruise ships on the river is almost over as most cruise lines have deployed their ships again, or will soon, not the whole fleets but a very substantial number. The first five ships I saw I greeted with child-like enthusiasm as if it were March 😀!

 

And the excursion boats that are so much part of normal river traffic are out and about, too.

 

notamermaid

 

This is very good news, thank you for the updates.  We will be sailing on the Avalon Expression, Basel to Amsterdam next Saturday August 14.  We are hoping for good weather

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Latest computer data adjustment puts the high for tomorrow at no more than 720cm at Maxau and a predicted steady fall after that may see the gauge get out of mild flooding status on 13 August with the prospect of falling further during the days following. Looks really good.

 

11 hours ago, KarenRivera said:

This is very good news, thank you for the updates.  We will be sailing on the Avalon Expression, Basel to Amsterdam next Saturday August 14.  We are hoping for good weather

 

Right now it looks as if you will be sailing through a week of real Summer weather. Forecast for Strasbourg in that week is 27 to 30 degrees Celsius and no rain.

 

Will have a look out for the Expression on webcams.

 

Have a great cruise.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

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The levels along the river are falling nicely, Maxau is now down to 673cm and the forecast says it is still going to leave flooding status on 13 August. The prediction indicates the falling trend will continue after that for several days. Let us recap. What happened in July was not a one-off Summer flooding event but for July more in the realm of the unusual than it would have been in August - but even for August the levels we saw would have been almost exceptional. Since 2014 - the time frame I recall in enough detail to "give evidence" - we have not had such levels in July or August. For earlier official statistics we can look at the level how it has progressed through the year again - at Maxau, the so-called "Jahresgang", see post #81 where I have explained how it works. So this is how the July situation progressed after 14 July:

image.thumb.png.51fcc7a0b40489d9bf1a9d839eff684c.png

Over a period of 30 years there had never been such a high daily average (the blue peak in the graph) as we saw in the middle of July. As you can see, there have been peaks almost as high in August within that time frame but for finding out which years that may have been we would need to consult detailed statistics (that I do not have).

 

Something that struck me when I revisited post #81: I took a screenshot of the water level gauges in the whole of Germany on 14 July 20:19. Unwittingly I have recorded the red and purple dots in the Eifel valley, which show the dreadful flooding disaster in the making.

 

If you sail along the Rhine now you will hardly notice anything of what happened in the Eifel - if anything all. A newspaper says that the wooden pedestrian bridge that crossed the Ahr near Sinzig before the rivers meanders through a natural landscape to its mouth with the Rhine, was taken from its location by the rushing water, carried three kilometres along and now lies close to the Rhine in a field, seemingly stopped from further travels by a tree. Most river cruise lines do not pass this area in daylight, or if so, usually at dinner time. But if you want to spare a thought: the Ahr's mouth with the Rhine is on the left bank (looking downstream) at 629.4 km. The black and white numbers follow the river with the full kilometres on large signs and the 100m indicated by large white posts (stone slabs) in between.

 

notamermaid

 

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As forecast, the level at Maxau has fallen below the figure of official flooding and if the current trend continues will leave slow traffic regulations soon. Next week should see the level falling further towards the medium line. That still gives enough water to give us much ease for a September without issues of flooding or drought. A good chance, but never a guarantee.

 

So, to round off my more frequent posts with the current figures: Maxau 623cm, Kaub 313cm, Koblenz 288cm.

 

Time to sit back and relax.

 

If you are on the river right now or about to be: enjoy! ☀️ ☺️ 

And as always: drop us a line if you feel like it.

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It has been raining a little more in the past week than was anticipated on the 14th, so the levels of the Rhine have remained higher than predicted. At Maxau (and elsewhere) it is still going down though gradually, albeit with a couple of bumps in the graph. There is such a bump right now, but from late tomorrow we should see a continued fall towards the medium water level line. Later in the month than was clear last week, it will be on 29th August probably. The weather is having its ups and downs, grey and sunny skies in all variations with sometimes quite a bit of wind.

 

I went to the river last week, on the 18th to be precise, and while driving spotted a river cruise ship. It is lovely to see them again in larger numbers. This is a typical scene in the Rhine gorge (a sunny slope, where grapes grow well): IMG_20210818_161007.thumb.jpg.415fac12d5a4d471354e7b73f33543e7.jpg

 

And just there behind the next bush, this lovely youngster appeared:

1191156905_IMG_20210818_161014Korrektur.thumb.jpg.01e5bc005a854e3eed64af141efc2bc9.jpg

 

I checked online, it is the new Amalucia on I think her first or second itinerary, going downstream. Cannot find out precisely anymore when she started sailing. The writing on the slope cut off at the left of the photo says Bopparder Hamm, the name of this vineyard at the town Boppard.

 

Driving on this side of the river, you go past the rugged rock cliffs and the railway line (there is one on the other side as well, sometimes as close to the road as here). See if you can tell what iconic tower I took a photo of here:

1435061394_IMG_20210818_171431-1Kopie.thumb.jpg.96f28da29955e47f5001466f40f89466.jpg

 

Answer to be revealed soon.

 

notamermaid

 

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Marksburg, yes, of course. :classic_smile:  @jpalbny I don't remember, have you been into the castle?

 

It hid behind this hill just as I was pressing the button on my camera. It really is high up when you drive by and, my, those steps from the car park to the castle are steep! Braubach, the village at the bottom, is at an elevation of 72m, Marksburg is at 160m (according to wikipedia). Braubach is a nice village, I hope people do have a bit of time to spare to see it when they are taken up to the castle and back down.

 

Here is a photo I took from the other side of the river in Spring (quite a bit of zoom), not exactly the perfect touristy shot :classic_wink::

DSCN3391.thumb.JPG.44f1df9cbac8185ac38a6f3d808cde7d.JPG

 

It has been quite a few years since I was last in the castle. Would be nice to go again.

 

notamermaid

 

 

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@jpalbny I should have guessed that photo coming - Chris having chased you onto the top of a tower, observation point or similar and then happily smiling for the proof photo. :classic_smile: We learnt from the photo quiz that she has been doing that for years...

 

I see you got audio guides in Marksburg - I thought they did it with a human guide always, as they are so small rooms in the castle they do not need audio really. Interesting.

 

Our weather has turned to a kind of early autumn scenario, it is drizzly and in parts of the valley not quite managing 20 degrees during the day. This means the river levels will stay at a good level, medium to a bit higher than that. Looks good for September. If you are new to the subject of water levels and are wondering where I get the info from, here is the official service website of the regional authorities: https://www.pegelonline.wsv.de/gast/start

 

We need not worry about water levels right now, but the Covid situation is not pleasant. It varies a lot along the river, but some places are affected quite a bit, Koblenz for example has an incidence rate of over 100 which is so much higher than a few weeks ago. Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf are part of a bright red area in North Rhine-Westphalia (all well over 100). While being fully vaccinated basically opens all doors for you, there might be unexpected regulations, closures or restrictions to group travel that I cannot know about.

 

Hope it all works out well for you on the river and you get to see the sights during pleasant cruising in perfect comfort.

 

notamermaid

 

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1 hour ago, notamermaid said:

I should have guessed that photo coming - Chris having chased you onto the top of a tower, observation point or similar and then happily smiling for the proof photo. :classic_smile: We learnt from the photo quiz that she has been doing that for years...

 

I see you got audio guides in Marksburg - I thought they did it with a human guide always, as they are so small rooms in the castle they do not need audio really. Interesting.

 

LOL. The image of Chris chasing me up the walkway to Marksburg... Then making me walk the plank?

 

We definitely do climb a lot. I think it's to prove that we still can. And a healthy element of FOMO too.

 

If memory serves, we used our Vox Boxes from the ship and the Marksburg tour leader spoke to us that way. I don't think that it was a pre-recorded audio guide. We did all of our excursions that way. The local guides all used the ship's Vox Boxes.

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1 hour ago, jpalbny said:

The local guides all used the ship's Vox Boxes.

Ah, yes. I have heard about that being done elsewhere. Those Vox Boxes are a great invention. I used the system for the first time during a museum in Frankfurt in about 2013. It was really helpful as it was quite busy in the exhibition and the surrounding noises would have made it difficult to hear the guide otherwise.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Tag des offenen Denkmals" is the German day that highlights heritage and monuments, what the British call "listed buildings" and what we call (geschütztes) Denkmal, of any size and shape. As part of the "European Heritage Days", Germany always has this day on the second Sunday in September. And I am a fan of this day! Eagerly awaited every year is the list of buildings, archeological sites, places of worship and memorial sites that are open to the public with special tours and events, sometimes only on that day - for free! So for Rhineland-Palatinate I have had a good browse already. There is much to see this year for any kind of interest I would say. By the way, the motto this year is "Sein & Schein", "being and pretending to be" could be one translation (awkward), "real and virtual" another (closer to the modern aspects). From "trompe l'oeil" to "3D CAD" is the range of "not real" in focus this year.

 

And some of the places are along the river, you may have even been to one. Here are some: the old crane at Bingen, Schöneck castle in Boppard, the Pulverturm in Lahnstein, Speyer Cathedral, the Obertor in Braubach and the Roman theatre in Mainz. Here is the list, if you feel like browsing (you can change to any county or search by postcode): https://www.tag-des-offenen-denkmals.de/aktionstag/denkmale?seite=1&bundesland=RHEINLAND_PFALZ There is one monument on the list that sticks out for its special connection to the US and that is Remagen bridge: https://www.tag-des-offenen-denkmals.de/aktionstag/denkmal/die-bruecke-von-remagen-rheinpromenade-remagen

 

It is a special year for the museum in the bridge tower and therefore I will talk about this monument a bit more in another post.

 

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In England admittedly pre-Covid we have ‘overnight in the museum’ also pre- the film. As you can imagine the longest list is for The Natural History Museum, dinosaur 🦕 section and the list is mostly made up of members of the Guide & Scout Associations. I was a Guider for many years and the thought of spending the night there is great but with a group of Brownies quite frightening.

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They do that here officially as night of museums, for example in Koblenz, but those are controlled events that run to about midnight. So not the "let us spook each other big time, girls" overnight stay. You can probably do that at some museums in Germany. Haven't read about it around here.

 

Controlling a bunch of girls I find more strenuous than a bunch of boys - or men. Perhaps just my experience. Not sure about, err, men in the dark in a museum, though. A bunch of Brownies in a museum is definitely not for me. Unless it is the edible ones in the museum cafeteria 😂.

 

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Remagen bridge must be one of the most famous bridges that - do not exist! To be correct I need to say of course that it did exist until 1945, sadly a short life span for a massive stone and steel bridge as it was only opened in 1918. The Ludendorff Bridge, to give it its proper name, was one of three strategic Rhine railway bridges, sisters as such, they were all built in the same style to the same architectural principles with military purposes in mind.

 

The bridge took the railway from the main line at Erpel through a tunnel across the Rhine and connected to the lines there, the idea being these would take troops and equipment quickly through the Eifel region to the border with France.

 

Here are the black basalt bridge towers at Remagen in a photo I took from Erpeler Ley, the hill overlooking the river and through which runs the railway tunnel (Ley is an old German word for rock, usually consisting of slate):

IMG_20201101_155635.thumb.jpg.a4f91ff2562de7d64f61c1171b64d16f.jpg

 

It was the initiative of one man who saw the neglected stumps of the bridge in the river (later dismantled as they were a ship traffic hazard) and the towers and ruins overgrown with shrubs that led to the founding of a museum in the Remagen towers. He wanted to tell the story of the bridge and preserve the memory of what happened in 1945. He chose the name "Friedensmuseum", "peace museum". The museum celebrates (a bit belated due to the pandemic) its 40th anniversary on 11 September and the official reopening (it has been open again since August) after complete renovation. On that day and on said "Tag des offenen Denkmals" on 12 September you can visit the museum.

 

This is the website with the regular opening times: https://bruecke-remagen.de/?setlang=en

 

You can have a look round virtually here: http://rheinmeile-360.de/pano/#friedensmuseum

 

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The three sister bridges all started out with the same purpose and all provided a crossing of the Rhine river for trains and pedestrians and cyclists. The bridges all suffered the same fate in 1945.

 

But their current states differ. The Hindenburgbrücke from Rüdesheim to Bingen-Kempten has unused and overgrown remains on both sides of the river and stumps are still standing in the river itself. It was deemed unimportant as a railway connection and never rebuilt. The Kronprinz-Wilhelm-Brücke, or in short Kronprinzenbrücke, was rebuilt in a simpler form and still takes the railway line from Engers across to Urmitz to meet the main line just before Koblenz. The Ludendorffbrücke from Erpel to Remagen was also declared unimportant and never rebuilt, the stumps in the river have disappeared but after many years of neglect the museum was established in the towers in Remagen. The Erpel tunnel is filled in on the Erpel town end but the entry to the tunnel from the bridge side is open to the public on special occasions. They stage a theatre play on site, i.e. the Remagen bridge events at the original place where it all happened!

 

So we have two ruins and one "phoenix" and that is the end of the story of the three Rhine crossings, right? You have guessed it: it isn't.

 

I said the motto is "Sein & Schein". So we will look at what is and what may be and a bit of virtual pretending in a next post.

 

The "sisters" on wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_Bridge

note that the English website is quite similar to the German but a bit of extra info can be obtained from the German website

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urmitzer_Eisenbahnbrücke

note that the German entry is a bit short but gives you most of the major facts, a huge oversight is the fact that no English page exists yet, its history is too important to not have one I find

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludendorff_Bridge

note that due to its importance and fame the English website is very detailed, but a few more facts can be had from the German site which is even more extensive

 

notamermaid

 

 

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Finally, let us look at the current state of the bridges and what the future may bring.

 

We close the chapter "Kronprinzenbrücke" with a hopeful "happily ever after" as it is a fully functioning railway bridge that is used by pedestrians and cyclists as well.  With occasional repairs it can serve the public for many years to come.

 

I have been there a few times and have taken photos of the water and the flora and fauna in the approaches to the bridge. Here are five.

 

October 2018, the dried out riverbed with very shallow and narrow navigation channel, looking upstream:

DSCN1869.thumb.JPG.207e84e896348527d2e537a49eba90bb.JPG

 

The most unusual situation of bright summer day and flooding in July 2021:

DSCN3499.thumb.JPG.0ee49681e8591f0f617884a909ca2294.JPG

 

And two specimen of the reptile population that lives along the tank road approach to the bridge at Engers, taken in July 2021:

DSCN3494.thumb.JPG.50684b539f5c32f8e72ca23f5b061a44.JPG

 

DSCN3498.thumb.JPG.cf319c713c6f48679024385b27f92f94.JPG

 

View of the bridge from the walkway at Engers:

DSCN3507.thumb.JPG.8b568bb453b3fd3c3a07dedb2ddc5fe5.JPG

 

 

Onto the "Hindenburgbrücke". With other road and railway bridges nearby (by that I mean Mainz) and better roads and faster cars, plans to use the spot for a road bridge crossing the Rhine where not serious enough but lately another attempt had been made. Earlier this year a study gave the final blow to such plans, as it said that the rebuilding of the area leading to the bridge and the impact on nature meant this wasn't a viable option anymore. Still, there is an initiative that does not see this as an end to a bridge crossing the Rhine, but a change of tactic. They will continue their campaign now for a pedestrian and cyclists bridge at the spot. I do not know if that means they want the bridge ends and approaches on land to be incorporated. So, open end... Oh, and there are of course these plans for a bridge in the Rhine Gorge itself.

 

Now the Ludendorffbrücke. This bridge being a bit more in the public eye and it having a somewhat more important spot as a bridge that would serve communities further away from bridges (there is no bridge between Neuwied and Bonn, quite a distance) it may lend itself more for a road bridge but also here this has been more or less dismissed. The latest appears to be a serious idea of both municipalities of connecting Erpel and the hills with Remagen and its surrounding area with a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists to boost tourism. There are car ferries nearby so that may be a consideration for not insisting on a road bridge. Again, a road bridge would also eat up space on land which is more possible at shallow Remagen than at the crammed Erpel with the Ley rock. We will see how those plans go in the next couple of years. What could such a bridge look like? Modern? Or a huge imposing replica of the old?

 

Thanks to modern technology we can recreate the bridge and put it back in the landscape - pretend it is there. But hang on - while we are at it why not use virtual motion to enhance the scene and run a modern train on it? Here is the very convincing result of a company that did just that:

the article:

https://www.aktiplan.de/die-ludendorff-bruecke-wenn-sie-heute-noch-stuende-der-film/

and the animation, taken out separately as it is no longer easy to find through the website:

 

notamermaid

 

 

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It was a good day for the Remagen Peace Museum on Saturday, regional television showed many attendees at the reopening ceremony and people having fun at the fund-raising concert for the flood victims in the Ahr valley.

 

The last week was also special for an enthusiasts club in Cologne as it was awarded a restoration prize, the highest honour for such work in Germany. The friends of the yacht MS Stadt Köln was founded as a club in 2012 to save the boat. It is a listed monument but was so much neglected that it faced certain dereliction within a few years. Now they get the recognition for their work. Congratulations! Here are the enthusiasts in a German video article to give you an impression of the work they face. Note the names mentioned - Charles de Gaulle, John F. Kennedy, etc. This is no ordinary boat, it was built in 1938, with the latest technology. The powers at the time had planned to show off with it at an exhibition. It was later used by the US occupying forces and then handed over to the young democracy, from which point it served as the official yacht of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is still considered to be one of the fastest boats on the river:

https://www1.wdr.de/fernsehen/west-art/sendungen/historisches-ratsschiff-100.html

 

If you would like to read a bit more, there is very little info in English I think, but the "foundation for the protection of listed monuments" has an article on their website (from 2019) which should be easy to send through a translation program: https://www.monumente-online.de/de/ausgaben/2019/5/Ratsschiff-MS-Koeln.php#.Xba_DNVCdaR

 

A quick look at the river levels: Maxau 464cm, Kaub 152cm, Koblenz 150cm. We have had little rain in the Rhine valley in the last week, so the river is right down to what we expect it in autumn to be. This is close to what commercial shipping considers to be mild low river levels, but it is far from being any problem for river cruise ships yet (unless there is a particular shallow spot near a landing stage that I do not know about). The level at Kaub is likely to fall further but lower than 140cm is not anticipated. After that, a slight rise may well happen again as rain is forecast for tomorrow (all the valley) and Thursday (part of the valley).

 

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