Incessant rain in regions of Germany, France and Austria led to flash flooding yesterday, forcing residents to seek refuge on rooftops and stranding hundreds of pupils at their school overnight, authorities said.
In southern Bavaria state on the Austrian border, firefighters and other emergency services were dispatched to inundated towns.
“The floods came so quickly that people had to escape to the roofs of their houses,” a spokesman for the Lower Bavaria regional police said, adding that many streets were submerged.
The town of Triftern, around 200 schoolchildren bunked down in their school, preparing to spend the night, when road access became restricted.
A town spokesman said the school building itself was out of danger as it was on higher ground.
A separate group of 27 children on a class trip together with two teachers and a chaperone ran into trouble on a boat trip down the Regen river.
Their group of 12 boats became separated in the raging current sparked by a sudden storm and panic broke out among the pupils.
About 20 members of the group had to be rescued by emergency services, while the others were able to reach the riverbank on their own.
“The masses of water came very fast,” police said, noting that many houses were rapidly and unexpectedly surrounded by gushing flood waters.
“The situation has worsened dramatically in the last few hours,” said Triftern Mayor Walter Czech.
However there have been no reports of injuries or deaths so far, according to police. A refugee shelter in the area also had to be evacuated due to the storm.
Just over the border in Austria, heavy rain lashed the Salzburg region, flooding several roads and forcing several schools to announce closures for today.
And in central France, residents called in emergency services 8,000 times in recent days to demand assistance due to flooding.
In Paris, many promenades along the Seine were closed due to high water while in Nemours, 80km to the south, residents had to be evacuated yesterday afternoon after the Loing river burst its banks.
The neighbouring Loiret region saw the average rainfall of six weeks in just three days and Chambord, the Loire Valley’s best-known Renaissance chateau and a tourist magnet, was surrounded by rising waters.
Residents use a boat on a flooded street of Montargis, south of Paris.