Floods in Europe Near Peak, Merkel Tours Disaster Area

By James M. Gomez, Lenka Ponikelska and Nicholas Brautlecht - 2013-06-04T09:07:11Z

Photograph by Lennart Preiss/Getty Images

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Floodwaters that inundated Prague and swamped large areas of central Europe may peak today as emergency crews work to open river traffic, drain submerged neighborhoods and count the cost of the storm damage.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will begin a tour of flooded regions in Germany this morning after forecasters struggled to predict exactly when rivers including the Vltava, the Rhine and the Danube will crest. States of emergency in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria remain in force as firefighters, soldiers and other first responders widened evacuation zones and tried to stem flooding that spread even as rain abated. Nine people were confirmed dead and six are missing in the Czech Republic and Austria. Local media reported three deaths in Germany.

Authorities are battling to limit the damage from flooding that is the worst on record in some parts of Germany and recalls the devastation in 2002 that put whole regions of Bohemia, Germany and Austria under water.

Left, floodwaters from the Danube river in the historic city of Passau, Germany, on May 3, 2013.