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Rhine water levels 2022 and similar topics


notamermaid
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Greetings from the Rhine valley. Here is the thread for 2022 for everything related to the water levels of the Rhine and bits of information on the river.

 

Through the year we will look at the river's levels and what else may be happening that could be of interest to river cruisers. Join us again with your comments and share your excitement about upcoming trips on this major European river.

 

And if you are not coming to the area this year, well, join us anyway! Perhaps we can tempt you to plan a trip to see the river another time, be it on water or on land. :classic_smile:

 

Where ever your trips may take you this year  - safe travels.

 

notamermaid

 

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11 hours ago, Qwltngcruiser said:

Just replied to the Danube thread. Very excited for our upcoming cruise. Hope it happens and the Christmas markets will be open this year!!

Hello to you and thanks for joining. I am confident your river cruise will go ahead. And it is looking good for Christmas markets. I am being an optimistic realist here.

 

Carnival is late this year, late February, but that does not help. We are seeing cancellations of events everywhere. Will see what happens to the street celebrations. As we all know, we are safer outside than inside as regards infections. But come Spring life will surely get better.

 

Currently, I feel safer indoors than out in the wild or even in urban areas. We have a storm warning. It started around the coastal areas on Saturday, but has moved away from there further inland. My state Rhineland-Palatinate is completely on level 2 (scale has 4 levels) while parts of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria are on 3. The Black Forest will see some dangerous snow drifts, while we here just have unpleasant driving rain.

 

One can feel safer on the river, the ripples are there, with a bit of foam, but not a big deal. The danger is at bridges as a ship can get pushed towards pillars, i.e. to far left or right by sudden gusts. It happened in Autumn last year to a river cruise ship at Koblenz. No injuries of note.

 

All in all, it has been a mild winter so far and while the river had a spell of high water levels at the beginning of the month, it has been uneventful as regards flooding so far. Kaub, the notorious spot for low water, is now actually a bit in the low side. But that is only of concern for the commercial shipping industry as it affects the loading capacity of vessels.

 

If flooding and low water are new concepts to you as regards river cruising and it makes you nervous (eek, what will this mean to my cruise??) do drop me a line. You can also look at the stickies above on the title page, where there is an explanation in a thread. Or have a look through last year's thread on the Rhine.

 

If you would like to follow our weather warnings, here are the official pages of DWD (I think the map is not available with English captions): https://www.dwd.de/DE/wetter/warnungen_gemeinden/warnWetter_node.html

 

Talk to you soon. Yes, folks, I have already got some day trip travel reports waiting to be posted. 😊

 

notamermaid

 

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On 1/31/2022 at 2:57 PM, notamermaid said:

Kaub, the notorious spot for low water, is now actually a bit in the low side. But that is only of concern for the commercial shipping industry as it affects the loading capacity of vessels.

More as a side note, but you may come across this. The shipping industry and commerce have their own and very specific websites where you may read as headline something like "river still low in the Upper valley" or similar. That is then normally referring to what I have mentioned above. So for those interested in river traffic, here is what happens. When the river level falls and the figure reaches 150cm at Kaub, this triggers a mechanism in logistics called "Kleinwasserzuschlag" meaning low water surcharge. This is a calculated sum of money that is given as compensation to make up for the fact that commercial ships cannot sail at full load. Two other gauges that trigger this are at Duisburg and Emmerich. This is how it works: https://www.contargo.net/en/goodtoknow/lws/

 

So not to worry, this does not mean the river is low for river cruise ships. For that the river needs to carry far less water.

 

notamermaid

 

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What else has been happening in the Rhine valley in the last five weeks? Life is still restricted so some things have not happened that normally would at this time of year. Carnival is slowly approaching but most likely will not take place in its usual formats and intensity. In Switzerland, i.e. Basel and the High Rhine area, things may look a bit better than in Germany as restrictions in Switzerland may well be lifted in time for the celebrations, at least partially. But who knows, there is hope for good signs coming from Berlin.

 

There have been a few ship accidents, but damage has been only to material as far as I know. Another World War II bomb has been unearthed. Not a major deal - sadly - as we get them on a regular basis during construction work. We are used to it.

 

A bigger deal and in a good context has been a find in Switzerland when the ground was prepared for the foundations of a new boat house. It wasn't a bomb and it wasn't Medieval (or older) graves, so that leaves the third of the "archeologists' trinity" (my words): Roman walls!

 

The Basel rowing club wanted a new boathouse and got a gladiator arena: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-may-be-the-last-gladiator-arena-ever-built-discovered-in-switzerland-180979497/

 

notamermaid

 

Edited by notamermaid
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My friend and I are due to embark on a Rhine cruise on April 5th in Basel. We are spending 4 nights in Amsterdam when the cruise ends. Is April a time of year to be concerned about low or high water on the river?

Also, will the air temps typically be mainly in the 50s Fahrenheit or colder or warmer? I have no idea how to pack! For outerwear I'm bringing a raincoat with removable lining. 

All info is most appreciated!

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Beginning of April can bring anything really. The hills shake off the last throws of winter and it can snow in the mountainous regions in Switzerland and the Upper Rhine valley. Night frosts very much possible. But there could be nice days when the temperatures are in the double digits (Celsius) during the day. So, 50 Fahrenheit is a good marker, nights can be colder, days are likely to be 50 or warmer. We say "April, April, der macht was er will" - it means April is unpredictable. Lots of rain, no rain, winds, no winds, normal water levels, flooding. But no low water normally.

41 minutes ago, BAYA said:

For outerwear I'm bringing a raincoat with removable lining. 

That sounds a good idea. And sturdy shoes that faithfully take you over cobblestones and do not mind splashes of water. For wind you may find a scarf useful. The hood on the raincoat should do the trick with the cold temperatures. It depends on how quickly you feel cold.

 

Perhaps check accuweather a couple of day before you leave the US.

 

Hope this helps.

 

notamermaid

 

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11 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

And sturdy shoes that faithfully take you over cobblestones and do not mind splashes of water. For wind you may find a scarf useful. The hood on the raincoat should do the trick with the cold temperatures. It depends on how quickly you feel cold.

Perhaps check accuweather a couple of day before you leave the US.

Hope this helps.

 

notamermaid

 

Yes, that helps! I have a hood on the raincoat but I'm bringing a wool knit cap in case it's really chilly. And gloves. Can't enjoy touring when you're too cold or too hot.

The challenge for packing this time is that I have a long driving trip prior to flying to Switzerland and so I need to be packed for the river cruise 6 days before I leave home in FL. As long as I have layers and some ability to shed them if it warms up unexpectedly I should be good. I'm glad you reminded me about the cooler nights.

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7 minutes ago, BAYA said:

I'm glad you reminded me about the cooler nights.

Oh good. I remembered that some excursions start early in the day, so one can feel quite cool after a night with low temperatures. I was on the Danube in the first week in April for a Passau return trip. I started in Passau with grey weather and remnants of snow and returned after a gloriously warm day in Budapest to find Passau a week later had Spring finally in the air. 2013 had been a dragged-out winter. Our winter here so far has been mild but we may get a cold spell in March.

 

notamermaid

 

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We add and shed layers as the temperatures fluctuate throughout the day.  Bring a smallish (lightweight) day-pack to hold the unneeded layers ( & the gloves, hats, scarves needed early in the day or late at night).  I also brought lightweight long-underwear and wool socks on river cruises in August; mornings and evenings on the upper (open) decks can be chilly.   These last items depend on whether you're acclimated to weather in FL or NH!

 

Enjoy your cruise,  Lynn

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4 hours ago, JerseyGem said:

I also brought lightweight long-underwear and wool socks on river cruises in August; mornings and evenings on the upper (open) decks can be chilly.   These last items depend on whether you're acclimated to weather in FL or NH!

 

Enjoy your cruise,  Lynn

Lynn, thanks for the tip. When I became a snowbird I disposed of my silk long underwear and now I regret that. FL temps have been pretty cold lately. ☹️

Definitely will bring a small day pack.

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41 minutes ago, Canal archive said:

I was going to suggest silk long johns etc there lightweight do not show your wearing them under anything and pack to almost nothing. Have a super cruise.

Thanks 😊

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I have mentioned ship accidents. Seeing that the Rhine is one of the busiest waterways in Europe - a river cruise ship captain in a conversation with me called it a "bl**dy motorway" (translated from German) - they statistically happen here more than elsewhere. Unfortunately, statistics struck a ferry yesterday, meaning a tanker collided with the ferry at Bad Honnef, that is South of Bonn. The vessel sails from the right bank to Rolandseck on the left bank and back of course. In the early hours of Friday a tanker crossed its path. The running traffic has right of way and the ferry always needs to wait for ships to pass. According to police it is not clear yet who is at fault in this incident. One person was injured and three cars on the ferry suffered damage. The ferry is unable to sail.

 

The tanker had to stay at the scene for inspection but is not in the main channel, so not obstructing traffic.

 

This is the stricken "Siebengebirge": http://www.faehre-honnef.de/

 

notamermaid

 

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Siebengebirge is the name of the mountain range upstream from Bonn. An interesting region, hilly but not as rugged as the more famous Rhine gorge further South. What both parts of the Middle Rhine valley have in common is that there are no bridges for many kilometres, so crossing the river is done by ferry, unless you are willing to make a substantial detour in a car. We will have a look at Rhine ferries of which there are quite a few, seeing that the Rhine is quite a long river. Not to worry, not too much. Just a few and we will stop before Emmerich (the border with the Netherlands).

 

When you are on a river cruise it is a nice change to cross the river from one bank to another and get a different perspective of the place you are docking at. For that you need to be in the right place of course. But we will get to that another time. First, this crossing in the Upper Rhine valley. Quite a few years ago now, I went on a weekend trip to Europa Park theme park. A fun trip. Rather than driving on the Eastern side of the river all the way through Germany, we chose to go through France and cross the river. The small town of Rhinau is the place where the ferry takes you to Germany on the other bank. In this part of the Rhinelands, the river forms the border between the two countries. These are photos from my crossing:

1746895507_Rhinau2001.thumb.jpg.19f766814125c54af8ad541af82d91a8.jpg

This is looking upstream. The island cuts the river in two here. It is a wild place: https://www.visit.alsace/en/261000884-rhinau-island-a-small-jungle-in-the-rhine-forest/

 

Looking at Rhinau town from the ferry called Rhénanus:

1570437989_Rhinau2003.thumb.jpg.64796423a4a748b9f60e5bc659c6a1f3.jpg

 

On the German side is Kappel-Grafenhausen. This being a low lying area, there are no villages near the river and it is a landscape still dominated by the former meanders of the Rhine (it was put in an "artificial" bed during the 19th century) and small streams that are still present.

 

This is where you can find it, at kilometre 258: http://fähren-rhein.de/faehren/faehre-rhenanus-kappel-grafenhausen-rheinau/

We will have a look at a couple of the others in the list another time.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

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The Rhine valley is on storm warning, there has been quite a bit of damage, mainly fallen trees. Also damage to cars due to trees, a bit of debris, etc. Major disruptions to Deutsche Bahn, trains have been cancelled, overhead power lines affected and trees on tracks are always a problem as a result of storms, ranging from Bft 8 to 11 in the last 24 hours. Tomorrow storms will flare up again. The rain that came with it has made the rivers rise quite fast. It is not a worry that much along the large rivers, they are going from just below mean to high water or mild flooding. Bigger problems are along the coasts and into estuaries.

 

You may wonder where I get all the info from as regards water levels. Local water related websites. And this colourful* page that lists almost all the rivers and waterways, i.e. even those that have little traffic (yachts and rowing boats) to no traffic, in Germany and provides links to neighbouring countries seeing that we share many rivers: https://www.hochwasserzentralen.de/

 

*The colour green is the one we wish to see throughout as this means no flooding.

 

notamermaid

 

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As is the case with several cities and towns and their districts along the Rhine, Koblenz and Cologne spring to mind, Basel is also a city on both banks of the river. You can get across on the bridges or for a different experience try out one of the small passenger ferries: https://www.basel.com/en/attractions/ferries-1c2b0d1624

 

Along the length of the river there are passenger ferries and car ferries, they may be used mainly by tourists or as is the case with the car ferries, they can be part of a regular commuter service. Or an official boat that travels across the river and sails along it. But I will get to that another time.

 

notamermaid

 

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Thanks, notamermaid, for your report for 2022.  We are booked with Scenic along the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam in June.  Looking forward to learning more about this great river, its history, and the communities along it via your posts.

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On 2/25/2022 at 2:50 PM, loriva said:

Looking forward to learning more about this great river, its history, and the communities along it via your posts.

Thank you for the encouragement. A few tiny stories from me about the river I live at. So much to hear and see with excellent guides when you are in the ports, much more than I know or could ever write in this small space here! I am sure you will have a great time with Scenic in June. Usually warm days, a valley in full bloom and long evenings with time for cocktails at sunset on the sun deck. Bliss!

 

notamermaid

 

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17 hours ago, Gopherpharm said:

Thank you for the info!! We leave the US next month for an April 3rd departure from Amsterdam. Anxiously excited!

My pleasure. A "Spring awakening" cruise. That is nice. End of March will already see many budding trees and sailing upstream from Amsterdam into the warm microclimates of the Rhine valley should give you a tiny bit more Spring each day if the weather is sunny.

 

Talking of info. I have not posted any water levels yet. So I will do that next together with some explanations for the newcomers to the subject.

 

notamermaid

 

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The water levels at the gauges, which are not the depths of the navigation channel. Here goes:

Maxau 487cm

Kaub 267cm

Koblenz 309cm

 

These are all good. Forecast and predictions into the future are not possible for more than a few days in advance. Computer modelling is done for a maximum of ten days at Kaub. So right now we have a vague idea what it will be like when the river cruising season begins in earnest. But the trend is for falling levels as we have little rain forecast. Which is fine. This will give more room for rain and snow melt when it happens.

 

Throughout the year I will post those three gauging station figures, either together or individually, as they are very good indicators for the situation as regards unimpeded sailing. Maxau is in the Upper Rhine valley, Kaub and Koblenz are in the Middle Rhine valley. In flooding, the situation at Koblenz can be seen a bit less than a day later at Cologne and then further North, therefore I only post figures from the Lower Rhine valley when they are very exceptional, for example when I read of river traffic being halted for safety reasons. In drought, the Lower Rhine is usually fine even when the situation is not so good in the Middle Rhine valley. Kaub is right in the famous Rhine Gorge with all the castles and is the marker for the notorious stretch prone to low water issues when they happen.

 

notamermaid

 

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On 2/26/2022 at 9:05 AM, notamermaid said:

My pleasure. A "Spring awakening" cruise. That is nice. End of March will already see many budding trees and sailing upstream from Amsterdam into the warm microclimates of the Rhine valley should give you a tiny bit more Spring each day if the weather is sunny.

 

Talking of info. I have not posted any water levels yet. So I will do that next together with some explanations for the newcomers to the subject.

 

notamermaid

 

I am prepared for temps around 50F and rain…so anything else will be a pleasant surprise. We are sooo excited. It will be our first time in any of these places!

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15 hours ago, Gopherpharm said:

I am prepared for temps around 50F and rain…

If it is like that for more than 48 hours at the time of your cruise, I shall get annoyed with those that make the weather. We normally have more than 50F or 10 Celsius during the end of March, at least on some days. Right now it is a bit on the cold side, but still normal for end of February. Minus 4 in the hills at night to plus 10 in the valley in the afternoons where it is sunny. I should take a short video on a sunny day to give you folks an impression of what it is like. Hmm, perhaps next week.

 

But now, back to ferries and an amateur video better than I can take.

On 2/20/2022 at 7:50 PM, notamermaid said:

Or an official boat that travels across the river and sails along it. But I will get to that another time.

There is a ferry called the "Mary Roos". Unconnected to Mary Rose, but named after a singer with the artist's name Mary Roos who was born in Bingen. She - the vessel - sails between Bingen and Rüdesheim as a car ferry but is built in such a way that allows her to sail along the river as an excursion boat. Here are some technical details on the German Wikipedia page - if you are interested and feel like translating this: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Roos_(Schiff) The Mary Roos on the company page: https://www.bingen-ruedesheimer.de/schiffsmiete/flotte/schiff/af-mary-roos

 

The company has a another ferry called "Stadt Rüdesheim" and it is with this ferry that the author of this little video crossed the Rhine from Bingen to Rüdesheim. A splendid-looking AmaWaterways river cruise ship was anchored in Rüdesheim at the time - New Year's Day 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg0D3JHRYPY

 

notamermaid

 

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