At least 11 people have died and at least 70 are missing after rivers overflowed following record rainfall in western Germany.
Police said four people were killed and 70 were missing near the Ahrweiler cellar in Rhineland-Palatinate state after the Ahr River toppled half a dozen houses.
To the north, in North Rhine-Westphalia, two people were found dead in flooded basements in Cologne, with more dead in Solingen, Unna and Rheinbach, police said. Two firefighters died in the state on Wednesday evening – one drowned while the other passed out after a rescue mission.
About 50 people were trapped on the rooftops of Ahrweiler and other houses were in danger of collapsing. Police helicopters have flown from neighboring states to rescue islanders, according to a Koblenz police report.
Further north of the country, the heaviest rains on record caused flooding in cities like Cologne and Hagen, while in Leverkusen, 400 people had to be evacuated from a hospital.
State Governor Armin Laschet, a Conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in the September general election, is due to visit Hagen on Thursday.
Weather experts said rainfall in the region over the past 24 hours was unprecedented. An almost stationary low pressure front also caused precipitation in France and the Netherlands.
More abundant rains are expected in southwestern Germany, on the German Upper Rhine, at the end of Thursday and Friday (16), announced the German meteorological service.