New Year welcomes Czech Republic with snow, sleet, high winds and floods

Photo: CTK

The past week saw much excitement in the Czech Republic. Besides the New Year, it brought frosty weather, high winds, floods, and rain, taking Czechs by surprise. Whilst people slithered and skated as they tried to make their way across icy sidewalks last Friday, they had to pull out their umbrellas and put away their winter coats on Monday, only to wrap up in their wind-proof jackets on Thursday. Dita Asiedu has more:

Photo: CTK
To say the country is experiencing fluctuating temperatures is an understatement, and meteorologists have warned there is more to come. Frantisek Sopko is one of them:

"These are certainly not normal weather conditions. What we are experiencing now is a result of truly unusual wildly circulating air. Whilst Thursday and Friday brought humid air from the Atlantic we can expect cold arctic air from north-eastern Europe in the next few days. This large difference in temperatures is responsible for the weather conditions that we are currently experiencing."

On Thursday night, winds reached speeds of over one hundred kilometres per hour, knocking over trees, rubbish bins and everything light that stood in its way. Flood warnings were also issued in several parts of the country as rain, coupled with above-zero temperatures, melted snow and ice to increase the water levels on the country's lakes and rivers.

Photo: CTK
"Due to the floods in August, there is no more space for water to be stored under the ground and the ground itself is too soaked to absorb any more rain. Bodies of water, especially those in southern Bohemia, are still full and all we need to reach flood levels is some ten to thirty millimetres of rain. In this respect, there is good news as the next few days will see less rain so water levels of rivers in higher areas should decrease on Friday, whilst those in the rest of the country will experience a slight rise before gradually dropping to their normal levels."

But that's all the good news as freezing rain, snow fall and temperatures reaching fifteen degrees Celsius below zero are expected to hit the country by next week. Local authorities are preparing for a state of alert, motorists have been asked to stay off the roads, and pedestrians will be given another chance of being knocked off their feet.