The Great Flood of 2013

If you grow up in Florida, you get used to hurricanes.  If you live on the west coast of the United States, you know earthquakes.  The folks in the mid-west of the U.S. know tornadoes. Every geographic region has an indigenous natural disaster.  For places along the Danube river, it’s flooding.

High water marks are a common sight along the river banks of Bavaria- an indicator of floods long past.  This picture is the corner of the outer wall at Weltenburg Abbey- there are high water marks from as recently as 2005, and as far back as 1845.


Because of this, it’s no real surprise that after four straight days of rain across Bavaria, Austria, and large swathes of Europe, there’s flooding going on.  A few people have died, according to the news.  Passau and Rosenheim have declared a state of emergency.  Portions of Prague were entirely evacuated on Sunday night due to the flooding.

As of 9pm Sunday, Regensburg is on high alert, but hasn’t taken much damage yet.  I went out on Sunday at around 5pm to take a look at the current state of things.

Large metal flood barriers and sandbags have been set up along most of the places that the river is likely to come washing over the banks.

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Just for some perspective, here’s approximately the same view as above, from a past photo with normal river levels.

The flooded space is coming very close to the Historic Wurstkuchl, the world’s oldest fast food restaurant.  They’re normally open every day, but they had to close today because the water levels are dangerously close to their doorstep.

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The buildings that butt up against the river have to take special care to block off lower entryways and remove valuables from basements.  The basements will be the first to flood.


Here, again, is a past view of the same batch of buildings from a less flooded time.

Metal barriers have been placed wherever water might seep in-  I don’t know how much protection this really affords.  The city has advised people to move their cars further away than the green vehicle in this photo.



Some of the structures that are the closest to the waterline are hotels.  There’s usually a lot more grass around this one.


There’s an entire hidden island in this photograph.  The water level is usually very close to the land line here, so it’s no surprise that the land is almost entirely  obscured by water.

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Have you ever seen a flood firsthand? What natural disasters have you experienced?


25 thoughts on “The Great Flood of 2013

  1. Hugh Prichard

    We’re planning to be in Regensburg on Wednesday, June 5, staying at
    the Grand Hotel Orphée. Any news for us??


    1. The Orphée is far enough from the river that I shouldn’t think you’d have any problems.

      Really, though, you should call the hotel and ask.


    2. Dave B.

      We are arriving in Prague on Thursday the 6th staying at the Boscolo hotel, with a river boat cruise from Nuremburg to Vienna starting on the 9th. Would you have any idea of our chances of making the tour. Any info would help



      1. Prague has had significant flooding, from what I have seen on the news. You should contact your tour company for status updates. I have no idea or insight into what the water levels will be like in a week’s time.


      2. L Brousseau

        The river cruise has been cancelled as June 4th.
        We were to arrive from Canada to Prague at Boscolo Hotel on June 6th and cruise from Nuremberg to Vienna on the River Ambassador manage by Uniworld. Our travel agent advise us that the cruise has been cancelled due to the flood on June 4 in the afternoon and to stay home.
        How are you doing ????.


        1. This makes sense. I’ve heard that some of the river boats are kind of stuck because the water level is too high for them to go *under* bridges they normally slide past easily.


  2. Hugh Prichard

    Thank you for the quick reply. No trains are running west/northwest from Vienna today.
    We will hope for the best tomorrow. The advice on the OBB site is cursory and
    with no predictions. Any news from you on train travel to Regensburg?


    1. As for the train travel, I have no real insight. I went from Salzburg to Munich on Saturday, and Munich to Regensburg on Sunday- both trains were perfectly fine, although there was some noise about the Rosenheim stop which may have been due to water levels.


  3. I grew up in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens, but we never really feared destruction. Running the farm path yesterday the corn fields looked more like rice paddies. This rain is getting ridiculous! It rained again today….but wait…I think I see some blue sky.


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  5. Thanks for posting this info. Sometimes tracking down stuff like this in the American news is a little tough… so, thanks again for providing this bit of news.


    1. Thanks for stopping by. I’m not really a news source, but the way that Regensburg is responding to the water levels is fascinating to me, so I share.


  6. Crazy! I’ve been in a few floods, a couple drastic snowstorms, a tornado, and a few earthquakes. Here’s hoping everything settles down soon!


  7. Tony Crouch

    Thanks for sharing Steven. The City of Bath World Heritage Site is closely watching the fortunes of our friends in Regensburg. Hope the defences hold.


  8. Henry

    I visited Regensburg a few years ago and had a great time – especially at the Spital beer garden. Is it safe being right along the river?


  9. Doug

    Thanks for sharing Steven! I have been to Regensburg several times including the 2012 Mai Dult. Sad to see the Wurstkucke below the water, not to mention the threat to wonderful bier gartens. Any news on how things are along the canal or in Stadtamhof? How is the Marriott Courtyard faring or the Dult grounds?


    1. I haven’t seen Dultplatz. Stadtamhof is ok so far; there’s just one set of streets (closest to the river) that are flooded. I think we’ll all breathe a little bit easier in another two or three days- the rains have finally stopped in the Alps, so it should settle down a bit now.


  10. One of my friends told me that recently Regensburg city get affected by flood and city government is now struggling to recover the economic growth. As flood is a natural disaster and I hope it should not affect on tourist attractions in Regensburg. It felt really sad when I heard about flood. As it is one of the best tourist city in Bavaria and government gets most of the revenue by tourism industry.


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