Fox News Weather Center

Europe Floods Worst in Centuries

Historic flood waters headed downstream amid welcomed dry weather Wednesday, leaving central European residents to clear away the mess.

At least 12 people in three countries, seven of them in the Czech Republic, have died in the flooding with two others still missing, following days of torrential rain.

Flood-related evacuations have numbered more than 19,000 people in the Czech Republic alone, the AP website said on Wednesday.

According to the BBC News website on Wednesday, about 600 people were evacuated in Dresden, Germany, the latest major city to experience serious disruption amid some of the region's worst flooding in history. Peak flooding of the Elbe River was forecast between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

The downtown of Halle, in eastern Germany, was being flooded by the swollen Saale, a tributary of the Elbe.

Farther up the Elbe, the Czech city of Usti and Labem, the northward-flowing river, having driven some 3,000 people from their homes, was forecast to crest Wednesday. Flood waters were already spilling over a 10-meter-high (33-foot-high) metal barrier, the BBC said.

Chemical factories in Usti and Labem were under threat from the flood, and precautionary measures were being taken to prevent toxic spills, as happened in the devastating 2002 flood.

High water on the Danube River was threatening a dike at Krems, Austria, upstream of Vienna.

Meanwhile, with flood waters receding, cleanup was underway Wednesday following historic flooding at Passau, Germany. On Monday, the Danube, according to the AP, reached its highest level at Dresden since 1501.

In Prague, flooding of the Vltava River was not have been as bad as feared, having crested well below the level of 2002. The lowering Vltava allowed authorities to begin assessing the damage. Damage to the city zoo was already being estimated at $8 million, the AP said.

Widespread rain last week into Monday topped off wet spring, triggering the widespread flooding along and north of the central and eastern Alps. In some spots, the normal rainfall of two months fell within two days, swelling rivers to overflowing. In Austria, rainfall within three to four days reached about 9 inches at Bregenz and about 7 inches at Kufstein, weather data available to showed.

Forecasters at expected only scattered daily showers through Saturday. However, the potential for rainy weather was seen for the period of Sunday to Tuesday.