For those of you with property in the immediate vicinity of the river, flooding is always going to be in the back of your mind particularly in the heavy rainfalls that seem to lash Europe in winter.
However, don’t despair too much as there are two very useful websites where you can monitor river levels from anywhere in the world allowing you to better decide when to either phone a neighbour and ask them nicely to clear out your ground floor or to make sure your insurance covers flood risk.
The first site is “Mosel Webcams“. As the name suggests, from there you can get live video images streamed to your computer or smartphone from selected locations in several towns along the Mosel. The cameras operate 24/7 and after heavy storms, the footage can be quite dramatic.
The website was started by two couples, Harald and Bernadette Mohr and Rüdiger and Heidi Mitscher, originally just to show off their hometown of Traben-Trarbach. The idea proved so popular that they added eleven more cameras in other locations and I am jolly grateful they did. Please do make use of the site and click on their sponsors from time to time so that they can continue to provide this excellent service. The site is in German only but is very easy to use even if you don’t speak the language.
The other website I find really useful if a little scary at times is the official “Hochwassermeldedienst”. This translates to “Flood Reporting Service” and covers all major rivers and tributaries in the state of Rhineland Palatinate. Although it is in German, much of it is pictorial and self-explanatory. For example, clicking on “Mosel” then “Karte” (which means maps) takes you to a simple map showing the monitoring points on the river. Each point identified by a coloured dot representing the current river level status – green means less than the two-year high water level (or in layman’s terms, flood that occurs about once every two years in the statistical average) all the way up to purple which is the highest level i.e. greater than the fifty year flood level. It all depends on where your property is located which colour is the one you need to watch out for. My house was last caught by the hundred year flood back in 1993, so I only need to start panicking when the dot turns purple.
Clicking on “Hochwasserfrühwarnung” or “High water early warning” reveals a simple map of the region similarly colour coded – green means all is okay, purple means inflate that dinghy and batten down the hatches. Although the map shows no place names, hovering your mouse over each section of the map will identify the municipality and you can click on those to get a bit more detail.
This site also offers graphs showing the current level of the main rivers (“Hauptpegel”) as well as the tributaries (“Nebenpegel”) for each of the main rivers in the state.