This article has been updated several times.

Full cellars, increased accidents and flood alarms: A storm causes chaos and numerous operations in southern Germany. After hours of sometimes heavy rain, there is currently an extreme risk of flooding in Saarland, according to the flood reporting center. The State Office for Environmental and Occupational Safety in Saarbrücken said it was a flood event that occurs every 20 to 50 years. Large-scale flooding of built-up areas as well as agricultural and forestry areas could occur.

In the Saarland state capital Saarbrücken and other municipalities, houses had to be evacuated due to rising water masses. The Interior Ministry spoke of a “widespread flood situation,” with the focus being on the southeastern part of the country. The Neunkirchen district, the Saarpfalz district and the Saarbrücken regional association were particularly affected, the ministry spokesman said in the evening. Initially nothing was known about any injuries.

When it comes to cities, the situation is tense in the state capital Saarbrücken, in Eppelborn, Neunkirchen, St. Wendel, Saarlouis and Merzig. In some places, residents had to be evacuated from apartments on isolated streets. In some cases, old people’s homes were also affected, such as one in Marpingen. In Saarbrücken-Russhütte the situation was “precarious” because the current speed was so high that the fire department had to call off and rescuers from the German Red Cross were called in.

Fortunately, no people have been harmed so far, said the spokesman for the Interior Ministry on Friday evening. 50,000 sandbags from the state reserve have been released. It is being examined whether help should be requested from surrounding federal states. The state capital Saarbrücken, as well as several districts, declared a major disaster. Several buildings in the city had to be evacuated. The city set up alternative accommodation in schools and a citizens’ telephone. Those affected were asked to only take the essentials with them.

A similar situation occurred elsewhere: “We have evacuations everywhere,” said a spokesman for the situation center in Saarbrücken. “It’s raining everywhere, nationwide.” The population was called upon to avoid spending time outdoors and to avoid flooded or vulnerable sections of roads.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) canceled an election campaign appearance in Saarland planned for Saturday. Instead, he will get an idea of ​​the situation on site in Saarland together with Prime Minister Anke Rehlinger (SPD), a government spokesman said in Saarbrücken in the evening.

The storm also caused numerous fire and police operations in Baden-Württemberg. A man was seriously injured in an accident on Autobahn 5 near Bühl, the Offenburg police announced on Friday. The 29-year-old lost control of his car during the night due to heavy rain and excessive speed and left the road.

The vehicle overturned and came to rest behind the guardrail. The 29-year-old was taken to hospital. Heavy rain has caused numerous operations in southwest Germany since Thursday evening. According to the Offenburg police, aquaplaning occurred on the A5 motorway, causing several accidents.

Near Rastatt, a 69-year-old left the road and crashed into a concrete wall next to the left lane. The car then skidded across all lanes and overturned. The 69-year-old and his passenger were taken to hospital. In the Aalen police area, the cellars were full.

There were also severe weather operations in other federal states. According to the fire department, emergency services in Nuremberg responded on Thursday evening mainly because of overflowing underpasses and basements as well as flooded streets and full basements.

The German Weather Service (DWD) warned of further heavy rain in southwest Germany on Friday. Parts of Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia are affected. The DWD warned of flooding and flooding until early Saturday. The highest warning level applied in Saarland and the south of Rhineland-Palatinate.