Flooded agricultural land, endangered power plant, canceled shifts: The floods in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are also causing problems for the economy.

The German Farmers' Association, for example, is expecting major damage to agriculture. "We are looking to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg with great concern," the association's Secretary General, Bernhard Krüsken, told the Reuters news agency on Monday. "We assume that agriculture will also be confronted with massive flood damage to land and buildings." However, it is too early for concrete estimates. "That is not yet foreseeable," added Krüsken.

The energy company Uniper is securing its Irsching power plant near Ingolstadt because of the flooding. As the dam of the Danube tributary Paar to the west of the power plant is in danger of bursting, preparatory measures are being taken to shut down the power plant if necessary and put it in a safe condition, the utility explained in response to a Reuters inquiry. The management of the power plant is in close contact with the local crisis team. Flood protection measures are being implemented in the area of the power plant site.

After heavy rainfall, the Rhine - Germany's most important waterway - is partially closed to shipping. "Shipping is suspended on the Upper Rhine," a spokesperson for the Waterways and Shipping Authority (WSA) told Reuters. "Critical water levels have been exceeded here." The affected regions include Maxau near Karlsruhe, Mannheim and Worms. The Rhine is an important transportation route for grain, coal, petrol and heating oil, among other things.

According to the WSA, the Middle Rhine - roughly between Mainz and Bonn - is likely to be closed on Tuesday or Wednesday. "According to current forecasts, however, these are unlikely to be very long," said the spokesperson. The closures are intended to prevent shipping traffic from causing damage to local residents. The ships generate waves that can overflow the banks at high tide and fill up cellars, for example.

"POSTPONE NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL"

Rail travel is also affected by the flood disaster in southern Germany. "We advise against traveling to the affected flood areas in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg and recommend postponing non-essential travel," emphasized Deutsche Bahn. Passengers can still expect train cancellations and delays on long-distance services due to the storm damage. Long-distance services to Munich from the north and west were at times unable to run. Local transport in Bavaria also remains severely affected.

Due to the flood situation in Bavaria, car manufacturer Audi canceled two shifts for the production of the A3 and Q2 models at its main plant in Ingolstadt on Monday. Although the plant is not directly affected by the flooding, employees living in the region are, the Volkswagen subsidiary announced on its intranet. They could take advantage of flexible and mobile working options. "The plant management and company management are constantly monitoring the dynamic situation."

"ANOTHER CHALLENGE IN ADDITION TO THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN"

Audi is not an isolated case. "We are receiving the first reports of production disruptions at the plants," said Bertram Brossardt, Managing Director of the Bavarian Industry Association. "The infrastructure is affected. Some roads and shipping routes are impassable." In many places, it is not possible for employees to reach their place of work or they are deployed to fight the floods. "In addition to the already weak economy, the flood disaster is another major challenge for affected companies," said Brossardt.

Logistics giant DHL is also feeling the consequences of the floods regionally. "We are particularly affected by the current flood situation in southern Germany in the area of the Ravensburg, Augsburg, Stuttgart and Freising branches," said the Group with regard to the German postal and parcel sector. The safety of employees has top priority and the delivery of consignments may be restricted in some areas.

Extreme rainfall has led to flooded roads and evacuations in southern Germany over the past few days. In some regions, dams burst. A state of emergency has been declared in some municipalities. According to experts, climate change is making devastating floods and extreme weather situations more likely.

(Report by Rene Wagner, Tom Käckenhoff, Matthias Inverardi and Christina Amann, edited by Christian Götz. If you have any queries, please contact our editorial team at berlin.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com)