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notamermaid

Danube water levels 2020 and similar topics - plus tips and info

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Hello everyone,

 

here is the thread on the Danube for 2020. The last few river cruise ships are now sailing towards their winter harbours. Copming up are well-earned rests for ships and crews, but also for locals that have to live with the increasing tourist ship traffic.

 

For the Danube more so than for the Rhine the new season starting in March will bring more tourists and more ships, although new ships are also scheduled for the Rhine and its tributaries.

 

The weather is relatively mild in the Bavarian Danube valley for January right now, but snow is forecast for the weekend.

 

When the new season starts we will look again at the weather and most importantly the river levels. Do join us this year - also in this quiet time now - with your comments and tips.

 

Safe travels.

 

notamermaid

 

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Thanks for again for doing this thread.  Looking forward to reading what is happening on the waterways as well as all of the other interesting information!  

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Thanks for doing this for us travelers. We will be travelling in May/June  down the Danube and Rhine and will follow with much interest.

 

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Hi- I'm looking to book my 1st river cruise on Ama on the Danube in November 2020.  I'm wondering if some times of the year are better or worse for high/low water issues?  Due to a large project at work, I'm somewhat limited when I can take a longer trip this year so that's partly why I'm looking at later in the year.

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Hello katmu,

 

there is no easy answer to your question, I am afraid, well it has just got a bit worse to give an easy one in the last few years as the weather and with it especially patterns of rainfall along the German Danube have become more unpredictable. Generally-speaking the Danube in Germany still has flooding in Spring but it can be as late as June and on occasion in August. This can be mild to severe, a bridge in Passau is critical for superstructures of (river cruise) ships and what is most likely to interrupt a trip. However, usually it is only a matter of a few days so this might not concern you at all. Drought is the bigger issue from August onwards and can be mild to severe, short, intermittent or prolonged. The thread for 2019 is a good indicator of what problems can be like, I advise against reading the 2018 thread as it is frustrating and does not reflect the situation (2018 was the worst year in recorded history on the Rhine and almost so on the Danube). The area to look at is Straubing to Vilshofen for drought, represented by the gauge recording the level. It is called Pfelling and we will post the level when the situation arises.

 

Passau is a little downstream from Vilshofen.

 

Into Austria things are a little easier in times of drought as many stretches are deeper and/or controlled by locks. In Slovakia and Hungary drought tends to set in later than at Pfelling in Germany - as a rule of thumb - then further downstream patterns tend to be different.

 

So coming back to November: a sailing towards the end of the month will most likely see a smaller risk of drought, December is mostly okay, but see above...

 

A tip: you can avoid the worst stretch by taking a cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest or vice versa. Or choose a ship that is only 110m long as they have slightly less draft - or both things together. Ama Waterways ships are all 135m long on the Danube if I remember correctly but they do a little better in drought than some others.

 

Sorry, a bit long this explanation, I hope this helps with your plans.

 

notamermaid

 

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Thank you notamermaid.  That actually helps.  The cruise I'm looking at leaves from Vilshofen the middle of the month so I feel a little better about it.  I know that obviously it's too early to predict but that's why I purchase trip insurance, and I'm a go with the flow (pun??) type anyway.

 

katmu

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So excited to follow this.  My mom and I are going tot take a Christmas cruise up/down? the Danube.  Have been waiting for about 5 years because that is when my kids will be off in college, the time has come both kids will be in college and I will be able to take this cruise.  We have set the river and the cruise so the weather and the water level needs to be at the best!

 

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Coming from the Main and the Main Danube Canal ships enter the Danube at Kelheim. At that point, the Danube waters have already run for about 440kms towards you. So what lies beyond, upstream to the West?

 

A famous old town that has amused generations of children (and adults) with the tongue twister "in Ulm, um Ulm, und um Ulm herum" is Ulm. What quite literally stands out in Ulm's history and architecture is the minster with the tallest church spire in the world. Fancy running up the stairs? Some do, in an annual race: https://m.dw.com/en/europe-to-the-maxx-the-highest-steeple/av-49105659

 

notamermaid

 

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Let's dive right in...

 

...to the Danube. While I think it is great to sit in a warm flat with central heating, in Neuburg on the Danube today some folks think it is great to swim in a cold river. First organized in 1970, the annual winter swim is the biggest in Europe, even attracting people from other countries. This is the organizers' page: https://www.augsburger-allgemeine.de/neuburg/Donauschwimmen-Neuburg-2020-heute-Termin-Beginn-Programm-alle-Infos-id56223931.html

 

If you prefer to sail to Neuburg on a river cruise ship, I am afraid you cannot as the Danube is not navigable there. But it certainly deserves a detour pre- or post-cruise: https://www.bavaria.by/visit/neuburg-an-der-donau/

 

notamermaid

 

 

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It is official: the Danube between Straubing and Vilshofen will be upgraded. Two variants had been discussed and now the decision has been taken in favour of a more "gentle" approach. It means deepening the channel but also giving the river more room during flooding. For those interested in technical stuff, here is the project being described in english: https://navigation.danube-region.eu/upgrade-of-the-danube-between-straubing-and-vilshofen-pursuing-variant-a/

 

The German television online news site BR24 reports like this: https://www.br.de/nachrichten/bayern/spatenstich-zum-donauausbau-im-sommer-geplant,RoDtxsm

Work will start on the first section from Straubing to Deggendorf this Summer, in 2022, Deggendorf to Vilshofen is to follow. It says that "the public interest justifies the impact on nature". The whole project is estimated to take seven years to complete.

Deepening the navigation channel will not prevent problems like there were in 2018 for river cruise ships but looking at 2019 the extra depth would have given quite a few more uninterrupted sailing days with likely ship swaps reduced by a nice percentage.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

 

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That's great news for late summer cruisers, and of course for shipping companies and probably consumers as well.

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Just like on the Moselle and Rhine, the water came fast along the Danube. Heavy rain caused a quick rise in water levels and there is official flooding along much of the German Danube. However, the Upper Danube region is now showing falling levels again, so the worst is over. To give you an idea how fast flooding happened here is the graph for the Danube at Passau: image.png.f7980e5bfe5893395847368d155849e8.png

On the 1st of February there is no indication of rising levels, 48 hours later there is flooding. The situation is not too bad, Passau has seen much worse. Still, it is not pleasant. If you were on the river now, your river cruise ship would most likely not fit under the notoriously low bridge at Passau. Experts give as information that some ships struggle from 630cm onwards for safe passage.

 

@G.M.T., I hope your feet are warm and dry.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

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47 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

@G.M.T., I hope your feet are warm and dry.

 

notamermaid

 

No flooding in Passau, the high waters will peak about midnight and then start to fall, no rain in the forecast.

 

The corona virus outbreak has one positive side, the small Austrian town of Hallstatt (UNESCO Site), 800 natives and a million (thats 1,000,000) invaders (mostly Asians) in a year, the numbers have dropped dramtically. They can now breath.

 

https://www.insider.com/hallstatt-photos-town-ruined-by-tourists-what-its-like-austria-2019-10#i-also-chatted-to-a-couple-from-shanghai-and-a-family-from-india-the-mother-was-directing-a-full-blown-photoshoot-much-to-the-apparent-dismay-of-her-son-everyone-visiting-seemed-to-be-in-love-with-hallstatt-37

 

I'm warm but not dry.🍻

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So, it looks worse on the graph than it is in real life. Good to hear that.

 

Hallstatt? Yep, a (short possibly) respite, or time to breathe as you put it, for the small town before the indeed mostly Asians come back.

 

Here is a bit of nerd trivia: before the huge rise in tourist numbers, the small place was mainly visited by regional holiday makers and Germans and the like, but mostly Hallstatt was known as the place that mined salt and in the science world as the place that gave its name to a whole culture in prehistoric time: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallstatt_culture

 

notamermaid

 

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The river level at Passau has gone down nicely, from close to 700cm to now 531cm. Much more worrying is the European hurricane that is travelling from the North Sea in a Southeasterly direction. It is due to hit Bavaria during late evening and last well into Monday. Our word is "Orkan" and that is why I call it a European hurricane as its structure differs from tropical hurricanes. It is not as intense but more widespread, so much that it will cover all of Germany and Deutsche Bahn (German railway) is advising people to stay at home. Does not sound good for the Bavarian forest.

@steamboats and @G.M.T.   stay safe.

 

notamermaid

 

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36 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

 

@steamboats and @G.M.T.   stay safe.

 

notamermaid

 

Dear MiL wanted to come for the weekend, we told her not to travel in such a storm. I would rather face the Orkan than dear MiL.

 

The beer is in a dry, safe place (bedroom where dear MiL would have slept). 🍻

 

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Notamermaid and G.M.T. - stay safe, warm and dry.  We know what hurricanes are all about in our part of the world, and we wish you the best.  We just had storms with tornadoes this past week followed by cold air and a dusting of snow with more rain coming this week, so I like G.M.T.'s preparation strategy.  We will be on the Danube on Crystal Ravel in late April with hopefully some nice spring weather by then.

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@notamermaid stay safe too! So far it´s still calm and sunny. But we´re the latest to be hit. My DD was happy that she returned back home from Bremerhaven on Friday already. It was just Deutsche Bahn which messed up her trip (as usual).

 

steamboats

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19 minutes ago, steamboats said:

@notamermaid stay safe too! So far it´s still calm and sunny. But we´re the latest to be hit. My DD was happy that she returned back home from Bremerhaven on Friday already. It was just Deutsche Bahn which messed up her trip (as usual).

 

steamboats

Always reassuring to know the loved ones are safely at home. I dunno, Deutsche Bahn, is seriously ruining the reputation of Germans being efficient.

 

But talking of safe and secure. Earlier I told our neighbour's tomcat to go inside - he did not at first but I think he is now in his human mother's cosy flat. The car is parked away from trees and I have a torch ready in case there is a power cut. But G.M.T. has probably got the better idea for such a scenario. After all, the human body can go longer without food than drink. If the freezer food is no good and the cooker is off, there is still beer...

 

The Bavarian Forest has been upgraded to level 4 warning, the highest. Eek! I am in a level 3 zone just like Passau and Munich and most of Germany.

 

Must check on my dear people in the Southeast of England tomorrow, bad flooding there in parts.

 

@TheKingD Thank you for your wishes. Promise to report back how things are tomorrow by the evening.

 

notamermaid

 

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@notamermaid although we don´t have any beer at home... our bar is well stocked ;-)!

 

Still calm over here. But our red weather alert is announced for 4 am til 6 pm. I assume it will be some fun to get to work tomorrow (I should have packed my laptop to work at home).

 

steamboats

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30 minutes ago, steamboats said:

@notamermaid although we don´t have any beer at home... our bar is well stocked ;-)!

 

Still calm over here. But our red weather alert is announced for 4 am til 6 pm. I assume it will be some fun to get to work tomorrow (I should have packed my laptop to work at home).

 

steamboats

No work commitments for me tomorrow, thankfully. Will see how shopping goes, certainly will avoid the scaffolding and trees nearby. We have been on red alert since 6pm and the storm is gathering pace. Should not get as bad as the Harz mountains, there on the Brocken mountain the fastest recorded gust of wind today so far is 166km/h.

 

Everyone have a good evening and restful night.

 

notamermaid

 

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Made it to my office (but I´m an early bird). The tram had to stop once to remove something from the tracks. Suburban trains seized operation shortly before 8 am. No regional trains, no long distance trains and flights are affected as well.

 

steamboats

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While you guys in Bavaria are still on level 3 we in the West are down to level 2. It was quite severe during the night but I managed to sleep for much of the night. No power cuts here, but villages in the hills have been affected. But closer to you, in Franconia, 60,000 people have no electricity. Got some road closures here and public transport is reduced.

 

Apparently, along the North Sea coast there is a storm surge warning level 2, along the Baltic coast level 1.

 

Oh, and of course, it was full moon yesterday, the one they call snow moon or Hornung in German (almost never used these days) which is also the old name for February. Just after a full moon the effect on the tides is stronger than on full moon itself, such an extreme is a spring tide, the same goes for new moon. A bit of a worry for Hamburg, hope all goes well. So far inland we do not experience anything like this. But unusually even Lake Constance has a weather warning just due to the heavy winds in the area. It is a BIG lake and the Rhine's natural reservoir.

 

notamermaid

 

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We had some hail and thunderstorms this night at 2 am (which woke me up). Currently we still have some nice wind gusts with rain and snow.

 

steamboats

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After sunshine this morning, the weather has turned decidedly unpleasant again. We are still on level 2 warning and one can feel it. While I was out shopping the rain turned into tiny hail, our lovely word Graupelschauer. Locally I have seen twigs and a few branches scattered around. One stretch of pavement nearby is blocked off as a chimney looks wobbly. All in all minor damage. Regionally a bit more disruption, but more on that in the Rhine thread.

 

News report said that Hamburg fish market was under water. More storm surges tonight.

 

Surprised to read that the Bavarian forest is still on level 3. Hope the loss of trees remains low. It is such a nice area.

 

To the river cruisers out there: the forest is worth exploring, especially its glass-blowing tradition along the route from Passau into the forest. But I also like the higher areas that are popular for winter sports. This is the national park: https://www.nationalpark-bayerischer-wald.bayern.de/english/index.htm

 

notamermaid

 

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