Atmosphere And Weather

Flooding in Austria June 2009

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"Flooding in Austria June 2009"
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June 2009 saw news coverage of severe flooding in Austria. Another summer and another country experiencing unseasonable weather. Having had personal experience of flooding, in the UK in June 2007, I found myself drawn to this news.

In a mere 72 hours, what would normally be the whole of June's rainfall in Austria fell on this country. As it was summer, holiday makers were affected as well as locals. This had the knock on effect of affecting people's livelihoods. Hotels and holiday accommodation along the banks of rivers such as the Danube were badly flooded and the tourist trade suffered.

As the rainfall ceased things began to return to normal. However some parts of the country were still under water three days later and more rain was forecast. Even when the flood waters have gone the drying out process can be long, protracted and soul destroying for those directly hit. Disputes with home insurance companies and the installation of drying equipment can take some time. It is on the whole a costly business for all concerned.

Vienna experienced the worst flooding that it had seen for 50 years and this heralded the removal of many priceless works of arts from the Albertina gallery. A leak in the roof looked set to cause irreparable damage to the works of art and so evacuation was thought prudent. Austria was not alone though and Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia were all under flood alerts.

For Austria, along with the rain, some snow was seen in the mountains. Most unseasonable for June even in Austria. However the heavy, rapid rainfall caused most of its damage due to falling on the Alps and then swelling those rivers below. As these rivers flow into the valleys even further down flooding was inevitable.

Whether the recent episodes of flooding around the world are due to climate change and global warming is still uncertain. Peculiar weather patterns do occur from time to time. However countries around the world have experienced similar flooding to that in Austria, during 2009. Austria is no stranger to flooding but of course such weather in June is unusual.

Austria is a beautiful country that has a rugged, mountainous terrain. With such large rivers, valleys and mountains heavy sustained rainfall is bound to be devastating. Austria utilised its fire fighting force and those soldiers who were available to help residents and lay sandbags in an attempt to hold back the flood waters. As far as I have been able to determine there was no loss of life in the Austrian floods and that is at least something to be thankful for.

Burgenland, one of Austria's eight provinces, has already reported a huge bill for the damage caused by the June 2009 floods in Austria. It is estimated at 13.5 million euros but will no doubt rise. This money includes loss of revenue and damage to buildings, roads and the like. Three months after this event there are a host of images on the Internet showing aspects of the Austrian floods.

More about this author: Ethel Smith

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