High water

New Danube, churning water and some kind of debris . . .

New Danube, churning water and some kind of debris . . .

Although we’re having our sixth straight day of rain in Vienna (which is unusual), we’ve been spared from the massive, devastating flooding that other parts of Austria and much of central Europe are suffering through.  I’m not entirely sure why it’s not so bad here — being further downstream on the Danube, I would have thought we’d get the same water, just later.  But there doesn’t seem to be any panic about potential flooding in Vienna.  I’m grateful, especially because our home is on the opposite side of the Danube from both Dan’s work and B’s school.

More of the New Donau -- angry brown water (taken from the U2 over Praterbrucke)

More of the New Donau — angry brown water (taken from the U2 over Praterbrucke)

Sadly, many beautiful places that we have visited in Austria and Bavaria — including Salzburg and nearly the entire course of our cycling trip along the Danube — are being profoundly impacted by these floods.  It’s sad to think of these places being damaged by the floods, and heartbreaking to think of the struggles that the people in these areas are enduring.

That's not usually under water . . .

That’s not usually under water . . .

Today was my first trip across the Danube since the rains started and the water levels rose.  Given that flooding does not seem to be a great concern in Vienna, I was surprised to see how swollen and raging the Danube and the Donaukanal are today.  There is a lot of water moving through there right now, and it’s moving fast.  The Danube, always imposing, looks unquestionably deadly today.  The water is brown and churning, the trees along the shoreline are mostly submerged, and I saw a massive piece of some kind of debris in the water.  The gates that control the flow of the water on the New Danube were completely open today, and I saw some kind of metal barrier I hadn’t seen before out there, too.  Stopping by the canal on the way home from dropping B at school, I noticed that the stairs leading down to the water, usually unappealing and slippery looking, are mostly underwater now — the water level, usually 4 or 5 feet below the level of the edge of the promenade, is now only about 5 steps down.  If they say there isn’t concern about Vienna flooding, I believe them, but it looks to me like we probably got pretty close.

Donaukanal -- the distance from the promenade to the water is usually several feet, not several steps

Donaukanal — the distance from the promenade to the water is usually several feet, not several steps



4 thoughts on “High water

  1. Hi, Just searching for flood info. My 95 year old Dad and I are booked on a Danube cruise to leave Budapest going to Passau on June 15. The cruise company cancelled the cruise before us, so we are just wondering what is going to happen to us. I read that today was your peak level for the river in Vienna. So if you are still happy and not destroyed, I guess they will not cancel our cruise, even though we will be expected to wallow around in muddy debris, I fear.

    BTW, I did read that Vienna put in place a massive flood control in 2010. I think the water is diverted around to somewhere else. So that is why you are in good shape.

    • Still happy and not destroyed! 🙂

      I think the diversion was either the creation of, or the dredging of (I’m unclear on the details) the “New” Danube. Riding over it today, and seeing how the water was raging, I can only imagine how poorly the “Old” Danube would have handled that if it were the only Danube!

      Good luck with your cruise!

  2. Hi!
    The reason why Vienna isn’t affected by the flood that much is the Donauinsel.
    Back in the 70s, when they started to dig the tunnels for the first U-Bahn (U1), someone had the ingenious idea to build the island with the excavated material. In this way not only the Viennese got a new area for recreation but also the “New Danube” was created, which can be flooded when there is high water. So the city is pretty safe from high water!

    Liebe Grüße,


    • Vielen Dank, Flo! 🙂

      Since I’ve never known Vienna without the Donauinsel, it’s so odd to imagine it just being created out of excavated dirt. But it was a brilliant idea!

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