Fox News Weather Center

Europe Flood Woes Persist as Dikes Burst

Historic flooding in central Europe continued to disrupt the lives of many thousands of residents on Thursday.

The death toll rose to at least 16, the AP website said. Financial costs were mounting as governments allotted funds equivalent to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Germany seemed to be bearing the brunt of historic flooding on the Elbe and Danube rivers, including some major tributaries.

Rescuers in helicopters pulled people from rooftops in Deggendorf, Bavaria, following dike breaches on the Danube River. The latest levee failure happened early Thursday, the AP said. Firefighter Alois Schraufstetter said the flood waters were 3 meters (about 10 feet) deep in the town, according to the BBC news website. "This is a life-threatening situation," he told the DPA news agency.

Dresden, Saxony, on the Elbe River, was anticipating the flood crest on Thursday, having had crews work through the preceding night to strengthen flood defenses.

More than 30,000 residents of Haale were urged to leave their homes after area river levels reached 400-year highs, the BBC said. The town was threatened after the swollen Saale River damaged a stretch of dyke.

Authorities failed in their effort to intentionally blow a levee above Bitterfeld, hoping to ease the threat to the town from the Mulde River.

In the Czech Republic, a broken barrier allowed Elbe River flood waters to invade a chemical plant north of Prague. As a precaution, workers and dangerous substances had been taken out of the factory, Reuters said Wednesday.

Elsewhere in central Europe, the Slovakia capital of Bratislava was already suffering flooding along its Danube River waterfront on Wednesday, Reuters said. An all-time high crest of 10 meters (about 33 feet) was forecast, but expectations were that flood defenses would hold.

In Budapest, Hungary, further downstream, sandbagging took place Wednesday. Some roads were closed, as was Margaret Island in the Danube. Animals in a small zoo were removed from the island, Reuters said.

Welcome dry weather covering the flood-hit region as of Thursday was expected to yield to bouts of rain Friday to Monday, forecasters said. However, no repeat of the flood-triggering extreme rainfall was foreseen.