Six houses collapsed in western Germany due to flooding and ongoing rain overnight, leaving about 30 people missing Thursday morning, police said.
The catastrophe was unfolding in the rural Eifel region of Rhineland-Palatinate state, where police said four people had been found dead in the district of Ahrweiler.
The entire district was heavily impacted by the storms, a spokesman for police in the nearby city of Koblenz said.
Several communities were cut off from the outside world because of the flooding.
So far, about 50 people who escaped the rising waters by climbing to their rooftops had to be rescued, the spokesman said.
A focus of immediate concern were the house collapses in the area, which occurred in the community of Schuld. Police said the exact situation remained unclear and the precise number of people missing was unknown.
Heavy downpours across western Germany had caused damage to property, motorway closures, mass evacuations and several casualties overnight.
The state of North Rhine Westphalia was also badly hit by heavy rains caused by a low-pressure weather system German meteorologists named Bern. The state, which borders Rhineland-Palatinate, has already reported several deaths.
Two firefighters died during operations in the Maerkischer Kreis district of North Rhine Westphalia. A 46-year-old died after falling into the water while rescuing a man after heavy rain, and 52-year-old collapsed during a storm-related operation, police said. An 82-year-old man in the town of Solingen died after falling in the flooded basement of his house.