The area along Große Elbstraße and other parts of the Altona port are exposed to the risk of flooding. Large road signs along the main dyke line stress this risk. During windy weather, the River Elbe is liable to flood its banks between October and May. In the event of any of the following flood warnings, you should therefore evacuate the endangered area, taking care of your belongings.
OFFICIAL FLOOD WARNINGS
Prior to an expected flood, warnings are issued in the form of gun shots, radio announcements, siren signals and local loudspeaker announcements. The forecast water levels are measured in heights above mean sea level (MSL) or mean high tide (MHT). The expected height and arrival of the storm surge are calculated and announced by the Hamburg storm surge protection office WADI and BSH and can also be found on the Internet under Flood Warning Service.
WARNINGS THROUGH GUN SHOTS
Around eight hours before the expected arrival of a storm surge, two shots are fired in quick succession from the Ernst-August-Schleuse, Teufelsbrück, Maakenwerder Höft, Hafentor and Stadtdeich firing sites. This means that the expected water level will be more than 4.50 m above the MSL (mean sea level), i.e. more than 2.50 m above the mean high tide (MHT), which is around 2.00 m above MSL.
WARNINGS OVER THE RADIO
Local radio stations such as NDR, Radio Hamburg and RSH, regularly issue water level forecasts. The times at which this information is broadcast vary from station to station. If there is any risk of a storm surge with a water level of 5.00 m above MSL or greater, all radio stations broadcast warnings from around nine hours in advance with increasing regularity. In the event of very severe storm surges, the warnings may also include instructions to evacuate particularly dangerous areas.
In the event of a particularly grave risk, sirens are sounded for a period of one minute to remind inhabitants to turn on their radios and to listen to the announcements made.
LOCAL WARNINGS WITH SPEAKER CAR
If there is any danger of the dykes failing or breaking, local warnings are issued in the areas at risk by means of speaker cars, urging people to evacuate the region. Further information is available from the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), Neuer Wandrahm 2–6, 20457 Hamburg
Tel.: 040-42847-28 87
The Hamburg Department of the Interior has produced free leaflets in conjunction with the district offices of Hamburg-Mitte, Altona, Bergedorf and Harburg for distribution to inhabitants of the low-lying regions of Hamburg. These leaflets are distributed to over 109,000 households each year and set out instructions on what to do in the event of a flood. The leaflets are also available for downloading as PDF files from the Catastrophe Protection Unit of the Hamburg Department of the Interior.
Tel.: 040-428 99 11 111 and 040-31 59 51