Prague Flooding - Background
Central and eastern Europe are suffering some of their worst flooding in recent history. As the River Vltava threatens to surge into the city, thousands are under threat of evacuation from Prague, in the Czech Republic.
What has caused the current floods ?
The present flooding in Prague was not caused by flash flooding, which is usually the result of a large storm which simply overloads both natural and artificial drainage systems. For a large river like the Vltava to burst its banks, a period of heavy sustained rainfall (about a week) is required. Whilst depressions (low pressure systems) are not unusual in these regions at this time of year, they rarely produce the amount of rainfall that Prague has experienced recently. Meteorologists believe that the heavy rainfall in central europe is the result of several factors :
1. The track of the depressions in the region has been unusual - the jet stream appears to have diverted weather systems out of their normal path. Instead of moving eastwards across the north Atlantic, picking up relatively little water because of the low temperatures at those latitudes, the system crossed into Europe at a lower point, carrying far more moisture as a result. When it delivered its payload on countries such as Germany, Russia, Switzerland, and Italy, this was in the form of much heavier rainfall than normal.
2. The slow-moving nature of the depression compounded the problem, leading to a week of torrential downpours.
Is Global Warming to blame ?
Two years ago Central Europe was hit by similar, although less severe weather - many meteorologists believe a pattern is emerging !
When castrophic floods like those in Prague hit, it is customary for people to blame 'Global Warming'. However, computer simulation models predict that rainfall in summer is likely to remain the same, or perhaps even fall, if climate change continues. The European Union is currently investigating the likelihood of more flooding in the future.
Find out more by visiting the links below.
(Not sure if all of the links are working - but have a look)
Prague Braced for crucial 12 hours !
Prague Battles Flood Waters
Counting the Costs of the Czech Floods
The Prague Post Online
Alert Net.com - Flooding in Europe
SFGate.com - Prague Under Water
Central Europe Online - Flooding ( Live News Feeds)
Flooding in Europe - The Trail of Destruction
Sky News - Flooding in Central Europe (includes videos and photos)
Channel 4 News - Flood Damage in Prague
Channel 4 News - Europe Submerged
Floods and Flooding
What are Flash floods ?
Virtual River Flooding
Met Office - Visible Satellite Image of Europe
Met Office World Weather News - Citizens of Prague take a rain check
Climatic Research Unit
Czech Republic - Country Profile
Country Profiles - Czech Republic
SlavWeb - Czech Portal site
Lonely Planet - Guide to Prague
Map of Prague
BBC News - Prague Flooding in Photos
Europe Under a Cloud
Yahoo News - Czech Floods Slideshow
The page and links are taken from the GeoExplorer website - which I have been unable to find again!