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High waves in Stralsund: Significantly increased water levels

Photo: Stefan Sauer / picture alliance / dpa

The Baltic Sea coastal regions in Germany as well as in parts of Denmark and Sweden have to prepare for storm surges. Schleswig-Holstein is expecting a severe storm surge. The highest water level is expected to be up to two metres above the mean water level in the Flensburg Fjord, according to the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).

In the Bay of Kiel, the water is expected to rise up to 1.8 meters above normal on Friday. In the Bay of Lübeck, the BSH expects up to 1.7 meters. There is a risk of flooding in low-lying areas of several cities. Beaches can also be flooded, and cliffs are at risk of being demolished. For Lübeck and Flensburg, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance issued flood warnings.

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, coastal towns were also preparing for a storm surge. For Friday, the BSH expected a water level of up to 1.3 meters above the mean water level for the coastline west of Rügen. For the area east of Rügen, the forecast is a maximum of 1.2 meters according to the forecast from Thursday morning.

Holidaymakers should leave the coastal regions

According to the BSH, a storm surge begins on the Baltic Sea coast at a water level of one meter above normal. From 1.25 metres onwards, it is referred to as a medium storm surge and from 1.5 metres onwards as a severe storm surge. If the water rises by more than two meters, this is a very severe storm surge. Unlike in the North Sea, the tidal range in the Baltic Sea plays practically no role. Water levels rise especially when storms from easterly directions push the water against the Schleswig-Holstein coast.

On the Baltic Sea coast in the south and east of Denmark, the police asked all people to leave the coastal area by Friday morning at the latest. Among other things, the summer house areas on the south coasts of the islands of Lolland, Falster and Funen as well as in the fjords of Haderslev, Aabenraa and Flensburg, which are also popular with German holidaymakers, are affected.

The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) warned of flooding in the affected coastal sections from Friday morning to Saturday noon. The water level could rise up to 2.4 meters above normal, the DMI said. In addition, according to the shipping company Scandlines, there will be restrictions on ferry traffic between Germany and Denmark due to the storm.

There may also be flooding on Sweden's south coast. The water level could be particularly high on the stretch of coast between the Öresund Bridge and Ystad, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) said.

At the same time, low water levels in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea of the North Sea led to cancellations and shifts in the schedules of ferries between islands and Halligen and the mainland. The reason for this is the strong easterly wind, which drives the water from the Wadden Sea into the North Sea.

The German Weather Service (DWD) warned of gale-force gusts with wind speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour on the Baltic Sea coast of Schleswig-Holstein. The warning is valid from Friday 12 noon to Saturday 2 a.m., as the DWD announced on Thursday. From Friday noon, the DWD expects continuous rain before the weather is expected to calm down on Saturday.