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A large-scale rescue effort is underway after the heaviest rainfall in a century caused flash floods to devastate parts of Western Europe

Fast moving torrents of water inundated entire towns and villages in western and southern Germany, causing buildings to collapse and leaving residents stranded, police said Thursday. At least 55 people have died in the severe flooding but authorities said that number is expected to rise.
Germany is worst hit with 49 dead, while six people died in Belgium. Luxembourg and the Netherlands are also affected.
In Germany’s worst hit Rhineland-Palatinate state, 1,300 people are “assumed” missing in the district of Ahrweiler, the local government said.
“In some areas we have not seen this much rainfall in 100 years,” Andreas Friedrich, a German weather service spokesman, told CNN. He added that “in some areas we’ve seen more than double the amount of rainfall which has caused flooding and unfortunately some building structures to collapse.”
Along with Rhineland-Palatinate, the German regions of North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland were worst affected, Friedrich added.
Extreme rainfall totals were observed Wednesday into Thursday morning across much of western Germany and the Benelux region, with North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate seeing the highest rainfall totals, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.
Widespread swaths of these states saw 24-hour rainfall totals between 100 and 150 millimeters (3.9-5.9 inches), which represent more than a month’s worth of rainfall in this region.
Cologne recorded 154 millimeters (6 inches) of rainfall in only 24 hours ending Thursday morning, which is nearly double its monthly average for July of 87 millimeters (3.45 inches).
Locally heavier downpours resulted in extreme flash flooding. In Reifferscheid, an incredible 207 millimeters (8.1 inches) of rain fell in only nine hours, according to the European Severe Weather Database.

At least 30 dead in one German state

In North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, 30 people have been found dead, a spokesman for the state government told CNN. According to the spokesman, at least 50 people were also injured in the floods and the number of people missing is unclear.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, at least 19 people were found dead, but “that number is expected to rise,” a spokesman for police in Koblenz told CNN.
On Thursday morning in the district of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, more than 1,000 police and emergency workers were called in, the local government said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is on her swansong visit to Washington, DC, described the deadly floods as a “catastrophe.”
“Here in Washington, my thoughts are also always with the people in our homeland,” Merkel said at a news conference on Thursday ahead of her meeting with President Joe Biden.
“Peaceful places are going through a catastrophe in these hours, one can say a tragedy. Heavy rainfall and floods are very inadequate words to describe this — it is therefore really a catastrophe.”
Merkel said the focus is on the rescue and immediate response to those affected by the floods, but added that she was in close contact with her country’s finance minister, Olaf Scholz, to work on a strategy for longer-term financial aid to help with recovery.
“I mourn for those who have lost their lives in this catastrophe — we do not yet know these numbers but there will be many,” she added.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert offered condolences to the families of the victims. “I am shocked by the disaster that so many people in the flood areas have to endure. My sympathies go out to the families of the dead and missing,” Seibert wrote on Twitter.
A woman tries to move in a flooded street following heavy rains in Liege, Belgium.
Merkel’s visit is likely her last to the US before stepping down as Chancellor in the fall after 16 years in power.
Armin Laschet, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Conservatives’ candidate to succeed Merkel, visited affected parts of the region on Thursday.
“We will be faced with such events over and over, and that means we need to speed up climate protection measures, on European, federal and global levels, because climate change isn’t confined to one state,” Laschet said.

Six deaths in Belgium

In neighboring Belgium, at least six people died in floods in the southern region of Wallonia, CNN affiliate RTBF reported Thursday, citing the magistrate on duty at the Verviers prosecutor’s office and the governor of the Liège province.
The Wallonia region borders North Rhine-Westphalia. The floods have also disrupted Belgium’s national railway network, Infrabel, stopping services in the French-speaking south of the country, the company said Thursday in a press release.
People ride on a trailer as the Dutch fire brigade evacuate people from their homes in South Limburg.
Italy has begun sending search crews and vehicles to Wallonia, the Italian Civil Protection agency said in a statement.
King Philippe of Belgium visited the town of Chaudfontaine, in the province of Liège, after it was hit by severe flooding.
“We are really touched by the severity of the catastrophe,” Philippe said in an on-camera statement. “Our thoughts go to the victims, their families, and all the people who had to be evacuated in emergency from disaster areas.”
Workers from France’s Civil Protection Agency arrived in the Belgium province of Liege to assist with recovery and rescue efforts.
“Rescuers from the instruction and intervention unit of the (French) Civil Protection carry out the first reconnaissance operations,” the French Civil Protection agency said in a post on Twitter, shortly after their arrival. “They will be joined this evening by firefighters, divers and lifeguards.”
The European Union also activated the civil emergency response mechanism to help areas of Belgium affected by floods, the EU Commission said Thursday in a statement.
“Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany you can count on the EU’s help to face these dramatic floods. My thoughts are with the victims of these tragic events and with all who will have to rebuild what they have lost. I want to thank all rescue teams for their invaluable help and relentless efforts,” EU Council president Charles Michel tweeted Thursday.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted an offer of support on Thursday.
“Shocking to see the devastating flooding across Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium,” Johnson tweeted.
“My thoughts are with the families of the victims and all those affected. The UK is ready to provide any support needed in the rescue and recovery effort.”
Shipping was also suspended on the River Rhine, one of Germany’s longest and most important arteries of industrial transport, according to NTV news.
Weather service spokesman Friedrich said the downpours were caused by cooler and warmer rainfall mixing. “It came from France at the beginning of the week to Germany and has been sitting over Germany for the last 48 hours,” he said.
“For now we predict the worst of the torrential rainfall is over, though more heavy rain is due in southwestern Germany on the upper reaches of the Rhine, (Thursday) and Friday,” he added.

Dutch city calls for two neighborhoods to evacuate

The city of Maastricht in the Netherlands has called on residents of the Heugem and Randwyck districts to leave their homes “as soon as possible” due to rising water in the river Meuse.
“The water in the Meuse is rising rapidly. We expect it to cross the quays at Randwyck/Heugem around 3 a.m.,” a news release from the city council of Maastricht said. “This means water will end up in the streets and homes.”
According to the Dutch statistics office, the population of the two neighborhoods is more than 9,000.

With climate change comes warmer air holding more water vapor

The extreme rainfall was the result of a slow-moving area of low pressure, which allowed a conveyor belt of warm and moist air to fuel powerful thunderstorms and bring heavy, long-lasting rainfall, according to the German national weather service, DWD.
Intense rainfall rates are becoming more common in the warming climate, as warmer air can hold more water vapor that is available to fall as rain.
“These kind of high-energy, sudden summer torrents of rain are exactly what we expect in our rapidly heating climate,” according to Hannah Cloke, a professor of hydrology at the University of Reading.
“The fact that other parts of the northern hemisphere are currently suffering record-breaking heatwaves and fires should serve as a reminder of just how much more dangerous our weather could become in an ever-warmer world,” Cloke said.
This story has been updated.

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‘God must be English’ Heavy rain in London sparks biblical flash floods after Euro hell

Emergency services rushed to Raynes Park as several vehicles became stuck under the rising waters. The London Fire Brigade has taken more than 150 calls of people reporting heavy flooding across South West London. Heavy flooding has also been reported on roads close to the Westfield London shopping centre in the west of the city. Roads were also flooded in Hampstead, near Central London. Several people took to Twitter to share photos and videos of the incredible scenes.

One person posted a picture and wrote: “God must be English.

“He was crying heavily on my way home just now.”

Another person posted a video on Twitter showing roads flooded by several inches of water.

They wrote: “One of London’s major climate change risks is flooding as a result of more intense summer rainfall.

“Climate Heating before our eyes in Putney, SW London.”

A third person also posted footage of the floods, and wrote: “We got a bit of a flood worry near Westfield in west London.

“The flooding is everywhere.”

The Jambuster Twitter account also wrote: “A10 Shoreditch High Street (All Directions) at the junction of Norton Folgate.

READ MORE: ‘Won’t make it to October!’ Boris backed to reinstate restrictions

“The thunderstorm has become almost stationary for nearly an hour. Really bad over Wembley, Ealing, Chiswick, Wimbledon…and other areas.

“Flash flooding happening no doubt…take care!”

The huge flooding caused disruption on the London Underground during the busy rush hour period.

On the Bakerloo line, service was stopped between Stonebridge Park and Harrow & Wealdstone, with minor delays on the rest of the line.

There was also no service declared from Marble Arch to North Acton on the Central Line.

On the London Overground, there were problems between Willesden Junction and Richmond/Clapham Junction and between Euston and Watford Junction.

Severe delays were also caused between Stratford and Willesden Junction.

There are severe delays between Stratford and Willesden Junction.

Channel 4 News weather presenter Liam Dutton posted an image from the Met Office showing heavy rain sweeping in across parts of England.

He wrote alongside this: “Torrential downpours with thunder and lightning are breaking out across the UK at the moment.

“There are particularly heavy downpours across S England and W Scotland, with localised flooding possible.”

The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for rain through to midnight on Monday, covering large areas south of Peterborough.

Sarah Kent, a forecaster at the Met Office, said some parts of the country could experience up to 60mm of rain over just a few hours on Monday evening.

She said: “The most intense rainfall is going to be in southern and western areas of the UK.

“Thundery downpours are coming from the English Channel as we speak.

“Certainly with the intense rainfall we are expecting, localised flooding and probably some travel disruption is on the way, unfortunately just as people are doing the school run and coming home from work.”

THIS IS A BREAKING STORY. MORE TO FOLLOW…

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Star Wars and Flash Gordon among films given stricter ratings due rise in complaints

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has changed the age ratings of several classic movies from PG to 12A. The board says the tighter classifications have been put in place “to ensure policies remain in step with parental expectations and societal standards”.

A PG rating says a film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older, while 12A recommends children under 12 should not watch without being accompanied by an adult.

Of 93 complaints made to BBFC in 2020, 27 were about Flash Gordon’s 40th anniversary re-release.

The re-release was reclassified up to 12A due to the inclusion of “discriminatory stereotypes”.

READ MORE:Harry Redknapp shares real reason for leaving beachfront home

The Elephant Man had its rating tightened due to “moderate threat, upsetting scenes and injury detail” and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was classified from a U to PG for “moderate violence and mild threat”.

BBFC chief executive David Austin said: “We talk to over 10,000 people every four-five years to revise our Classification Guidelines.

“As a result of changing standards in society, it is not infrequent that a distributor will submit something to us that we have classified in the past, but which we need to take a fresh look at under our current guidelines.

“The issue of discrimination is one of the core issues set out in our guidelines, and in 2020, the tragic death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests showed how important it is that discrimination be tackled and flagged up wherever it occurs.”

Author: Leah Stanfield
Read more here >>> Daily Express

Save £170 on the Garmin fēnix 6X Pro in this Amazon flash sale

Garmin fēnix 6X Pro is a premium smartwatch that comes built with everything you need to push the limits of your fitness and explore new challenges. Unlike other smart watches, this one isn’t just for gym-goers and runners (although it works amazingly for that too) but it is also an incredibly helpful piece of kit for skiers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The intuitive watch can distinguish between skiing and climbing, and then shows you the metrics specific to ascent or descent, helping you make the most of your activities.

The XC Ski Dynamics capability enables you to get an accurate read of the actual exercise load of cross-country workouts, so you can know just how hard you pushed yourself that day, and whether you need to work a little harder next time – helping you get better with every session.

For those who also want a watch that will help them keep fit off the slopes, the fēnix 6X Pro also comes with built-in animated workouts.

The watch shows you easy-to-follow cardio, strength, yoga, and pilates workouts that you can easily watch from the watch screen.

Being able to bring a workout routine with you everywhere you go will make it so much easier to stick to a routine, and is perfect for those looking for something that makes exercising while they travel easier.

For those who love hiking all over the world, the watch comes with advanced navigation features such as TOPO maps and ski maps for 2,000 ski resorts worldwide.

The device also features multiple navigation systems, and built-in sensors for compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter.

The advanced sensors within the watch track your heart rate and pulse, helping you to keep track of key health indexes as well as letting you know after a workout how long you should rest before you smash another session.

The design is unlike other smartwatches, as it’s sophisticated yet sporty, looking just as stylish with a workout kit as it does with a suit – a good look for those who work hard and adventure harder.

While this high-tech, feature-packed smart watch usually retails for £649.99, it’s currently on sale for £479.99 – saving you an incredible £170 off the usual price.

If you want to treat yourself to this epic deal and snag yourself the Garmin fēnix 6X Pro as part of this hot deal, you can buy it on Amazon here.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed

Life after death: Woman saw life flash before her eyes as she moved towards 'the light'

The woman, who is only identified as Rebekah, claims to have stood on the brink of death late last year, following a drawn-out battle with seizures. Rebekah opened up about her brush with death to the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF), which investigates reports of life after death encounters. According to Rebekah’s testimony, she collapsed to the ground after feeling a searing pain in her left arm.
She said: “I was on the ground instead of the couch and I couldn’t move.

“My body started going cold as I asked myself, ‘Am I dying?’

“I saw myself on the ground and could even see that the laptop cord was almost wrapped around my neck.”

Rebekah was then overwhelmed with the sensation of flying, claiming it was as if she has been plucked by an eagle.

READ MORE: Life after death: Hospice patient tells of bedside ‘visit’

She claims to have seen the clouds open up before her, revealing a beautiful green valley.

She said: “I just knew and felt a sense of calm and comfort such as I have never experienced before.”

All of a sudden, darkness took over but Rebekah could still see a light.

At this stage of the near-death experience (NDE), she saw “things I had done in my life” as well as scenes of things she had never done but always dreamed of doing.

Rebekah said: “Then my daughter came into view and I thought about the repercussions if I went to the light.

“I knew she would never forgive herself if she knew she had a part in my passing.

“I knew I had to get back to my body. I needed to go back by focusing on the pain in my arm.”

Rebekah lived to tell the tale and though she has not shared it with many, she claims it has changed her life forever.

Medical scientists, however, would not be so quick to take the story at face value.

Experts agree NDEs can have a profound and lasting effect on people but many do not think they are proof of paranormal or supernatural phenomena.

A number of theories have been put forward to try and explain why people may experience such visions and memories during a moment of trauma.

According to one possible explanation, NDEs are hallucinations triggered by a lack of oxygen flowing to the brain.

In the book The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death, authors Michael Martin and Keith Augustin wrote: “Reports of near-death experiences (NDEs) with suggestive or manifestly hallucinatory features strongly implies that NDEs are not glimpses of an afterlife, but rather internally generated fantasies.”

The authors also wrote: “In any case, the dying brain does not appear to be as disorganised as many survival proponents have led us to believe.

“It appears to be capable of generating experiences – challenging the ‘unsupported belief that the brain cannot possibly be the source of highly vivid and lucid conscious experiences during clinical death’ – though it still remains an open question whether the dying brain does in fact produce them.”

It is clear people who gone through an NDE, tend to look at the experience in a positive light.

According to a 2004 report published by The University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers, this is particularly true of patients who do not have a history of auditory and visual hallucinations, like schizophrenia.

The report reads: “Our finding of a high prevalence rate and predominantly positive attitudes toward auditory hallucinations following an NDE reinforces the need for further research into the physiology, phenomenology, and aetiology of these experiences.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Weird Feed

Scattered showers and storms expected Sunday with a Flash Flood Watch for parts of SE Texas

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The disturbance in the Gulf moved into TX early this morning. The disturbance is spinning over the Hill Country now, and the flow around that system is pumping that moisture-rich Gulf air in to SE Texas.This is bringing us scattered showers and storms across the area. We should see rain chances decrease a bit overnight Saturday into early Sunday morning, but those rain chances should bump back up by sunrise Sunday. Because the ground is super saturated, even an inch of rain could cause some street flooding issues. Drivers should use caution over the next few days.

We will still have a lot of moisture in place for Sunday with the highest moisture amounts to the west of Harris County. This is why we have a Flash Flood Watch in effect for Colorado, Wharton, Matagorda, and Jackson Counties from 1 am Sunday to 7 am Monday.

SEE MORE: ABC13 meteorologists keep an eye on the Gulf

We’ll need to monitor for potential minor coastal flooding as those onshore winds elevate the seas and tide, a Coastal Flood Warning has been issued for our coastal communities. We also have a Rip Current Advisory in place, so it’s best to stay out of the water.

Stay weather aware by downloading the ABC13 app to have the latest breaking news and weather alerts sent straight to your phone.What can we expect to start off the work week?

Rain chances will not be done with us yet… A 60% chance of rain is in the forecast for Monday.When will we dry out?
We will start to see rain chances drop as we head into midweek. We may have a couple of isolated showers in the afternoons for the second half of the work week, but most of us look to stay dry.
RADAR MAPS:
Southeast Texas
Houston
Harris County

Galveston County
Montgomery/Walker/San Jacinto/Polk/Grimes Counties
Fort Bend/Wharton/Colorado Counties
Brazoria/Matagorda CountiesSHARE YOUR WEATHER PHOTOS: Send us pics and videos of weather in your area to [email protected] and at #ABC13Eyewitness on social media.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: KTRK

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Flash Flood Watch: Here's how much rain you could get

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A Flash Flood Watch is now in effect for all of Southeast Texas until 7 a.m. Thursday. Additionally, a Flash Flood Warning is currently in effect from the northeast side of Houston into Chambers and Liberty Counties. The Flash Flood Warning in effect until 6:30 p.m. includes eastern Harris County as well.
Flash Flood Warnings and advisories are also popping up this afternoon as heavy rain falls from slow moving storms.

This evening we are expecting a round of thunderstorms to move towards the coast and drop a quick 1-3″ of rain that could flood streets.

Drivers should use caution on the roads as some area roadways have been reported as having high water.

Stay weather aware by downloading the ABC13 app to have the latest breaking news and weather alerts sent straight to your phone.Will Tuesday be as wet as Monday?
It’s certainly possible. Another disturbance will cross the area Tuesday morning. Another wave will move through Tuesday evening.

When will the heaviest rain fall?
The greatest concern for flooding from heavy rain will happen Wednesday afternoon and night. Street and creek flooding will be likely then. And we’ll really need to watch the bayous during that time since the heavy rain could fall for several hours..

When will rain chances come to an end?
Moisture will still be sticking around keeping rain chances in the forecast into the weekend. We should finally get a break on Sunday.

RADAR MAPS:
Southeast Texas
Houston
Harris County
Galveston County
Montgomery/Walker/San Jacinto/Polk/Grimes Counties
Fort Bend/Wharton/Colorado Counties
Brazoria/Matagorda Counties
SHARE YOUR WEATHER PHOTOS: Send us pics and videos of weather in your area to [email protected] and at #ABC13Eyewitness on social media.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: KTRK

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Get 25 percent off hundreds of UK hotels with huge flash sale – prices from £44 up

From today onwards, hotels in the UK can open and overnight stays are allowed. IHG Hotels & Resorts has launched a massive sale on hundreds of hotels with major deals on hotel rooms.
With prices slashed by 25 percent off, IHG Hotels & Resorts is offering hundreds of hotel stays at bargain prices with a big flash sale.

Guest can choose from 290 hotels across the UK and Ireland including the Holiday Inn, InterContinental hotel, Regent hotel and more.

They can also book rooms with no deposit required and cancellations are free up until three days ahead of their stay.

Prices for hotel rooms start from £50 a night.

Ideal for a family holiday or trip with friends, this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some much-needed relaxation.

Plus, the offer includes extended late check-out at select hotels.

Running now until Sunday 23 May 2021, hurry to get this deal.

With availability during the summer, find hotels and book your stay here.

This offer is available on bookings from 20 May to 17 December 2021, giving holidaymakers plenty of dates to pick from. 

Please note that rates are per room, per night and subject to availability during offer dates.

T&Cs apply, please read here.

Here are some hotels to book from (based on example stay dates 7 June – 10 June 2021):

Under £50: Holiday Inn Express Cardiff Bay

Was £67 per night, now £44.25 per night. Book here.

Under £50: Holiday Inn Express London – Earl’s Court

Was £67 per night, now £44.25 per night. Book here

Under £100: Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront

Was £119 per night, now £89.25 per night. Book here.

Under £100: StayBridge Suites Dundee

Was £119 per night, now £89.25. Book here.

Under £150: Crowne Plaza Edinburgh – Royal Terrace

Was £155 per night, now £116.25 per night. Book here

Under £150: Crown Plaza London – The City

Was £159 per night, now £119.25 per night. Book here.

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Legoland Windsor Flash Sale: Tickets & hotel stay for families – but be quick

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

This year, Legoland marks its 25th anniversary. To celebrate, the theme park is offering big package deals on tickets including resort stay, so be quick to get this amazing offer.

There’s nothing quite like going to a theme park and Legoland is one of the nation’s favourites for a fun day out.

And this year, the theme park is offering a flash sale on a package deal for families, ahead of its reopening.

For every full paying adult, one child (up to and including 15 years old) can get free theme park entry and hotel stay at the Legoland resort, Legoland Castle or nearby hotels. 

Day tickets start online start from £29 per person and prices start from £120 up for families of four.

Under current government guidelines, the theme park plans to reopen on 17th May 2021.

Situated in Windsor, guests can choose to stay at nearby Holiday Inn locations including Reading, Farnborough or Heathrow.

Certain Holiday Inn hotels also have facilities like swimming pools and kids under 12 can eat meals for free, making it the perfect place to rest after a day at the park.

In addition, Legoland resort guests also get a themed room, free LEGO gift, parking and children can meet characters from the theme park

Loved by children all across Britain, Legoland has over 55 interactive rides, live shows and attractions.

The theme park’s new Mythica land opens Saturday 29th May 2021, making it the perfect short-break to book this summer.

Kids can go free on selected midweek dates from the date of the reopening to the 8th July 2021.

Be quick to book, the offer ends midnight Tuesday 4th May 2021.

Park opening times are from 10AM – 5PM.

The theme park is easily accessible by road and rail.

To find out more about directions, please click here

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here.