Parts of Moravia on alert as heavy rain causes flooding

Ostravice, photo: CTK

Parts of Moravia have been hit by flooding, with rivers swelling to increasingly dangerous levels. So far flooding has resulted in at least one death and seen hundreds of people evacuated from the area. Further complicating the situation are strong winds and heavy rainfall which have knocked out power in around ten thousand homes. Meanwhile, meteorologists warn that the situation is not likely to let up any time soon.

Sustained heavy rainfall has led to high flood alert warnings on rivers throughout eastern Moravia, where water in some areas has already swelled, breaking banks, leading to flooding in places. Under threat are four regions: Moravia-Silesia, Olomouc, Southern Moravia, and Zlín – and the situation will likely only worsen in the coming hours.

Ostravice,  photo: CTK
Here are some of the developments so far: in Moravia-Silesia on Sunday in Třinec, floodwaters from the Olše claimed their first life, a 69-year-old woman who was found drowned near her home. Meanwhile, some 10,000 homes in the region are without electricity. Southeastern Moravia, too, has also been hit, under threat from the Bečva. There too, homes have been evacuated. Other rivers and streams with high flood alert include the Opava, the Lubina, the Ostravice, and the Morava. As a result throughout Monday the authorities in threatened towns and regions have been meeting to coordinate emergency plans and necessary steps, while the Czech government called an emergency session for Monday afternoon.

Petrovice,  photo: CTK
Certainly, the situation is dramatic and could change from hour to hour: the Olše near cities like Ostrava and Třinec, for example flooded its first homes early on Monday morning, flowing at more than 500 cubic metres per second at eight am compared to 20 cubic metres per second just a few days ago.

A spokeswoman for the town of Český Těšín told Czech TV that the Olše had risen to its highest since 1949 – higher, for example, than flooding in 1970, when the river’s waters destroyed a bridge, taking the lives of several firefighters. She called the situation poor indeed.

In Valašské Meziříčí in the southeast the Bečva has also swollen enormously, but there, there is at least some good news: levels are expected to drop somewhat in the afternoon; it remains in question whether that trend will hold. There, like other areas, the evacuation of dozens of people remains in place, while emergency steps include the preparation of alternative shelter – concretely a sports gym at a local high school, though reports said no one had taken advantage of the emergency shelter yet.

Bečva,  photo: CTK
It now remains to be seen how the situation will develop throughout Monday and what steps will be taken by the government. The country and especially parts of Moravia have seen increased chances of flooding in recent years, with the worst flooding taking place in 1997, 2002, and 2006.