The water level of the Rhine River in Germany is rising “faster than expected”, news agency DPA reported on Saturday, citing a spokesman for the flooding authority.
The river has already broken its banks at several locations higher up the river, and water levels are expected to continue rising until Sunday afternoon.
In Cologne, the river level is expected to reach 9 meters during the course of Monday, 70 centimeters above the mark that is critical for shipping.
“The Rhine is rising at 3 centimeters per hour, faster than expected,” said Henning Werker from the local flooding authority.
Shipping has been sharply reduced on the Rhine in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. Passenger boats and heavily-laden vessels have headed for safe ports while speed restrictions are also in place.
Heavy rain and melting snow have caused flooding and landslides across southern Germany over the last few days.
Water levels of the other large river in southern Germany, the Danube, were also critical at the start of the weekend, according to DPA
In parts of the region of lower Bavaria, the river reached the second-highest warning level of 3, with some homes and other properties flooding.
Shipping traffic was halted on the river Moselle and parts of the river Neckar earlier in the week.
The stormy conditions in parts of Germany are set to pass in the next few days, with far fewer showers expected from Sunday, the national weather service said.