Flooding brings fresh despair to Moravia

Foto: ČTK

Heavy rainfall has brought flooding back to the Czech Republic just as some localities were getting back to normal. Many of the same areas in Moravia hit two weeks ago were affected again with three lives lost, but flood warning have also been widened to new areas in the west of the country. The latest floods have left a trail of damage and desperation in their wake.

Photo: CTK
Flooding in some parts of Moravia this time round was in some places even more catastrophic than two weeks ago. That was the situation in some parts of southern Moravia where rivers burst their banks. But even in northern Moravia, which escaped with less damage this time round, the return of flooding has had a dramatic psychological impact. Many households had just finished cleaning up from the flooding a fortnight ago when the murky brown waters came back again.

This time round there was little waiting for the heavy rain over the last days to make its impact. The ground was still heavily waterlogged from the pervious downpour and the fact that a very long winter meant that melt water has been slow draining away.

The latest foods have claimed three lives with the bill for damages still being counted. Ironically perhaps, the upper house of parliament was due on Thursday to approve a proposal for 3.0 billion crowns of special flood bonds to help pay for the damages in mid-May.

Photo: CTK
Overnight on Wednesday there was some respite for northern Moravia where the rain held off and river levels began to drop. But rivers are still rising or at danger levels in the south of the region with a warning that the Morava river was at an extremely dangerous level at one site. And heavy rains in Bohemia meant that flood warnings were widened to this part of the county as well.

Jan Pretl is head of the climatology section at the Czech meteorological office. He highlights a divide between the east and west of the country with Moravia suffering abnormally high levels of rainfall over the past month.

“There are very significant differences between Bohemia and Moravia. For Bohemia the latest precipitation has mostly been about normal, maybe just under 100 percent of what is long-term normal. But for the Moravia region we have witnessed an increase of 75 to 150 percent. Specifically, there was some very strong precipitation in the northern part of Moravia. For example, there is the meteorological station of Lysá Hora mountain - there for the whole month there was rainfall of almost 600 millimetres. That compares with the total rainfall for the whole year which is on average 1,200 millimetres.”

Photo: CTK
For hard hit Moravia, the good news is that rain continued to hold off on Thursday morning. But the bad news is that it is expected to return during the night and on Friday. The only silver lining to the many clouds is that the weekend and following days should be sunny with forecasters ruling out a third round of flooding.