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Monday, June 10, 2013

23 dead in worst flooding seen across some regions of Europe in 500 years

23 dead in worst flooding seen across some regions of Europe in 500 years
June 8, 2013 | The Extinction Protocol

CZECH REPUBLIC – Expectations that Central Europe’s flooding would ease this week were put on hold following heavy rainfall over the weekend, as the Vltava and Elbe rivers swelled again to near critical levels in the Czech Republic while the flood wave moving through northern Germany triggered more evacuations.

Forecasters are expecting more thunderstorms in parts of southern Germany, just as recovery efforts were beginning to get under way after the worst flooding seen in some areas in 500 years. And in Hungary, floodwaters were moving southwards after water levels stabilized in Budapest. The situation was worsening along the Elbe in northern Germany, where a dike burst overnight, cutting off high-speed train connections between Berlin and most western German cities. About 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of Magdeburg, about 1,500 residents of the town of Fischbeck were forced to leave their homes after a dike breached with a

50-meter hole at around midnight. Another dike in that area slipped some 30 meters and is threatening to break, and a third near Klein Rosenburg, south of Magdeburg, failed over the weekend. The dike break north of Magdeburg caused the closure of a bridge on the high-speed train route from Berlin to Hannover, the main connection hub between southern and northern Germany by train. ICE trains are being rerouted with delays of up to three hours, and customers are also facing a number of cancellations, according to Deutsche Bahn. High-speed trains from Amsterdam to Berlin are now going no further than Hannover.

Floodwaters are continuing to flow north along the Elbe to Hamburg, and 44,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt alone. And there could well be more in store. Early Monday, Czech weather office CHMU released new local flood warnings as rivers, including the Vltava and Elbe, swelled in several parts of the country after heavy thunderstorms and hail over the weekend and early Monday. More rain is expected at least through Tuesday, following localized flash floods on


Sunday, which caused some street rain drains and sewers to overflow in Prague. The German weather service warned of heavy rain in southern Germany Monday, where localized thunderstorms could dump as much as 100 liters a square meter (2.5 gallons a square foot) within 24 hours. The situation in Budapest remained stable, with water levels at the city’s dams and dikes starting to subside after peaking at about three times their normal levels on Sunday night, said Mark Mate Kisdi, spokesman for the Municipal Catastrophe Authority. Attention has now turned to parts of southern Hungary that will be hit by the Danube River’s floodwaters. “Today is the day of shifting focus from the northern part of the country to the southern parts,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. At least 23 people have died across the region, and several more remain missing, while the economic toll is expected to reach or exceed economic damages from similar floods in 2002, which caused $16.5 billion in damages, according to Munich Re.
--WSJ

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