The train station has been reduced to rubble, wrecked cars lie on the tracks and uprooted trees line the riverbank.
Hundreds in the village of Heimersheim were still without power as police combed the wreckage left by receded water on Sunday to look for bodies and potentially flammable material.
There were similar scenes across western Germany and other parts of Europe where the cleanup from last week’s disastrous flooding continued. At least 180 people have died, officials confirmed Sunday, thousands more are missing.
As the waters rose from the Ahr river, Zinat Hamsoro, 41, who lives in the normally tranquil Heimersheim, told NBC News she had been forced to climb and spend the night on a hill near the village.
“It happened so fast, and we weren’t warned,” she said Sunday. “The city council posted a warning message on its Facebook page, but by then it was too late.”
In the nearby village of Schuld, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel surveyed the damage Sunday, meeting with survivors, many of whom had lost their homes, before traveling to the town of Adenau where she held a news conference.