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News Link • Climate Change

Central Europe floods portend a wet future


In the German town of Passau, the waters rose to their highest level since 1501 on 3 June. The floods in Czech capital Prague have since begun to recede but Dresden, Germany, is bracing itself for the river Elbe to rise 5 metres higher than normal.

The risk of floods had been growing for weeks, as a rainy spring left the ground sodden. In Austria, it was the seventh wettest spring since records began in 1858, according to Austria's Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics. So when two months of rain fell in two days, the water had nowhere to go.

While it is premature to pin the heavy rainfall on climate change, it could be partly to blame, says Stéphane Isoard of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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