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Flooding on Elbe River
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Heavy rains in Central Europe over the past few weeks have led to some of the worst flooding the region has witnessed in more than a century. The floods have killed more than 100 people in Germany, Russia, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic and have led to as much as $20 billion in damage. This false-color image of the Elbe River and its tributaries was taken on August 20, 2002, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), flying aboard NASA’s Terra satellite.
The floodwaters that inundated Dresden, Germany, earlier this week have moved north. As can be seen, the river resembles a fairly large lake in the center of the image just south of the town of Wittenberg. Flooding was also bad further downriver in the towns of Maqgdeburge and Hitzacker. Roughly 20,000 people were evacuated from their homes in northern Germany. Fifty thousand troops, border police, and technical assistance workers were called in to combat the floods along with 100,000 volunteers. The floodwaters are not expected to badly affect Hamburg, which sits on the mouth of the river on the North Sea.