Incessant heavy rains have caused severe flooding in parts of southern Germany, leading the authorities to declare an emergency.
In southern Bavaria, people had to be saved by helicopters, and at least 250 children were forced to stay in their school overnight.
So far, there are no reports of deaths or injuries.
The floods, which are also affecting Austria and France, are thought to have caused substantial damage.
The worst affected area in southern Germany is the district of Rottal Inn, where a disaster centre has been established.
In the town of Triftern rivers and streams burst their banks, and floodwaters dragged along cars, trees and furniture from flooded homes.
In many places the water reached several metres above street level.
The inhabitants, surprised by the sudden flooding, had to be rescued by helicopter.
“The situation has deteriorated dramatically in the last few hours”, said the mayor of Triftern, Walter Czech late on Wednesday. “The whole town centre has been flooded,” he added.
In at least two schools in the area, pupils were preparing to spend the night in their classrooms after flooding on the road cut off their escape route, though the schools themselves were on higher ground.
Further north, a group of schoolchildren ran into trouble on a boat trip on the Regen river.
They were saved by emergency services, after their boats became separated in the raging current sparked by the sudden rainfall.
The floods were also declared an emergency in the historic town of Passau, on the border with Austria, the scene of massive flooding three years ago.
In nearby Pfarrkirchen more than 35 litres of water per square metre fell in the space of six hours on Wednesday, according to the German meteorological office.
On Sunday, thunderstorms accompanied by heavy rain hit the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where clear-up operations are continuing.
‘Flood of the century’
The rain and thunderstorms that have battered Germany reached Austria on Wednesday.
The Salzburg region saw severe flooding on the river Inn, with people in two areas speaking of the “flood of the century”.
In the city of Braunau on the Inn, many roads are inaccessible, and 750 fir fighters were deployed to prevent further flooding.
In central France, residents called in emergency services 8,000 times in the past few days to demand assistance due to flooding.
The river Seine overflowed its banks in some places, and roads on the Left Bank in Paris, close to the Eiffel Tower, have been closed.
One of the worst affected cities is Nemours, southeast of Paris, where residents had to be evacuated after the Loing river burst its banks.
More thunderstorms are forecast for southern Germany, and water levels on some rivers are predicted to rise further still.