Maas river to set new record water level as flooding continues; More highways closed
The Maas River, also known as the Meuse in English, will likely set a new record high water level, topping even the marks set in during the floods in the winter of 1993 and 1995, infrastructure agency Rijkswaterstaat told L1 on Thursday. Evacuations in affected areas displaced about 200 thousand people during the 1993 flood, and around a quarter of a million people were displaced for up to two weeks two years later.
⛔ | Wegens overstromingsgevaar van de Kleine Geul bij Meerssen wordt op dit moment de #A2 in beide richtingen afgesloten tussen knooppunt Kerensheide en Kruisdonk. Meer info in ons liveblog: https://t.co/wJP8TQUigN pic.twitter.com/13Lxc9FPPq— Rijkswaterstaat Verkeersinformatie (@RWSverkeersinfo) July 15, 2021
The code red weather warning for Limburg has been downgraded to code yellow with heavy rainfall still expected through 6 p.m. on Thursday. Excessive rain on Tuesday and Wednesday led to the Thursday morning closures of the A2 in both directions between Eindhoven and Maastricht, and portions of the A76 near Simpelveld, and the A79 between Hulsberg and Heerlen.
The code yellow was also in effect for Gelderland, Noord-Brabant and Overijssel.
The water level has already risen to its highest point of any summer period in at least a hundred years, after heavy rainfall in Limburg and the Ardennes made its way to the river, the agency told Nu.nl. At the border with Belgium near Eijsden the water level during the early morning hours peaked five meters above the NAP, the true Amsterdam water level used for measurements across Europe.
⛔ | In verband met wateroverlast is de #A79 tussen Hulsberg en Heerlen voorlopig nog dicht. Het is nog onduidelijk tot hoelang de weg dichtblijft. Ook de #A76 is dicht tussen de Duitse grens en Kunderberg. (📷: beeld van gisteren door @re_touched) pic.twitter.com/jFrpuB8HjG— Rijkswaterstaat Verkeersinformatie (@RWSverkeersinfo) July 15, 2021
Water levels were at serious or critical levels from Eijsden in the south to Grevenbicht-Papenhoven further north. "The situation is very unique, not only because the water level and discharge have become extremely high in a short time, but also because this happens in the summer," Rijkswaterstaat spokesperson Sanne Maas told Nu.nl.
Frequently in the summer the region has had to contest with droughts. "Now we really have to turn the other way to make the environment waterproof as quickly as possible."
The agency does not believe that the mass evacuations during the nineties will be required again this year. The Maas was widened after the 1993 and 1995 incidents, and the dike and floodplain system was strengthened to handle more water than in the past.
"What was problematic then, has long since ceased to be the case," a spokesperson told L1. Village centers can still face problems due to the high water