Torrential rains and flooding ravage Central Europe: the worst in 70 years

June 3, 2013EUROPEAuthorities in parts of Europe issued disaster warnings and scrambled to reinforce flood defenses as rivers swelled by days of heavy rain threatened to burst their banks. Several people have died or are missing in the floods in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Switzerland since the rains began on Thursday. The floods have killed at least one person and left several missing across the Czech Republic. Czech officials warned that the waters of the Vltava river could reach critical levels in Prague late on Sunday as soldiers erected metal barriers and piled up sandbags to protect Prague’s historic center from flooding after days of heavy rains swelled rivers and forced evacuations from some low-laying areas. Prague authorities also limited public transport and closed underground stations as water from the Vltava River overflowed into parts of the Old Town. The area is a UNESCO heritage site boasting hundreds of well-preserved buildings, churches and monuments dating back mostly to the 14th Century, including the Charles Bridge that straddles the Vltava. “Due to the current situation, I have declared a state of danger for the area of the capital city,” acting mayor Tomas Hudecek told a news conference. Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said 200 soldiers have been deployed so far to help local authorities. In Germany, where at least four people have died or are missing, Chancellor Angela Merkel promised federal support for affected areas and said the army would be deployed if necessary. Several cities, including Chemnitz in the east, and Passau and Rosenheim in the south, issued disaster warnings. Passau, which is located at the confluence of three rivers, could see waters rise above record levels of 2002, said Mayor Juergen Dupper. German news agency DPA reported that large stretches of the Rhine, Main and Neckar rivers have been closed to ship traffic. Evacuations are also taking place in neighboring Switzerland and Austria, where the torrential rain caused widespread flooding and landslides. At least one person died and two were missing in the deluge in Austria, which in some places has dumped up to two months’ worth of rain in just days. One clean-up worker was killed in a mudslide in the town of St Johann near Salzburg, the Austrian Press Agency reported, while two other people were missing in the province after being swept into raging streams. The provinces of Upper Austria, Tyrol and Styria were also hit hard by the severe weather, which triggered the worst flooding in some areas since 2002. –Al Jazeera
 
Worsening crisis: Water from three rivers poured into the old town of Passau in southeast Germany on Monday, one of the cities worst hit by flooding that has spread across a large area of central Europe. Rescuers used boats to transport residents from flooded parts of the city to dry land as officials warned that water levels — already the highest in 70 years — could rise further. A spokesman for the city’s crisis center said much of Passau was inaccessible on foot and the electricity supply had been shut down as a precaution. “The situation is extremely dramatic,” spokesman Herbert Zillinger told The Associated Press. Water from the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers rose above markers set in 1954, when the city suffered its worst flooding in living memory. Zillinger said levels would continue to rise throughout the day. At least six people were reported to have died and seven were missing due to floods in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic following days of heavy rainfall. –CBC
contribution Emanni, Irene
This entry was posted in Civilizations unraveling, Climate unraveling, Cloudburst storms with flashflooding, Deluge from torrential rains, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Environmental Threat, Erratic Jet Stream, Extreme Weather Event, Flooding, Gale-force winds and gusts, High-risk potential hazard zone, Infrastructure collapse, Magnetic pole migration, Record rainfall, Signs of Magnetic Field weakening, Time - Event Acceleration. Bookmark the permalink.

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