Unseasonable weather hits the Czech Republic


It's the middle of the winter but the Czech Republic is unseasonally warm. Prague's meteorological institute recorded record highs this week - Tuesday's temperature of 14.9 degrees Celsius in Prague was 4 degrees higher than the all-time record high for the 29th of January. The unusually warm weather has continued and on Wednesday 100 year old temperature records were shattered across the country. Radio Prague's Nicole Klement reports.

This week's unusually warm weather, which is expected to continue into the weekend, has been enthusiastically welcomed. People are leaving their winter coats at home and bringing out their sunglasses. Though the sunshine is appreciated, the warm weather isn't all good news. The heavy snow falls last month are starting to melt and river levels have risen, putting several regions on flood alert.

Three rivers have already burst their banks, including the Elbe, which has flooded the main road between Prague and Decin - and since Monday ship transport on the river, near the Czech German border, has been suspended.

At the moment, though, flooding isn't the biggest worry. High winds have caused the most damage. Gale force winds have wreaked havoc in many parts of Europe, and in the Czech Republic winds of over a hundred kilometres per hour have caused damage to property and claimed one life.

On Tuesday a ten meter Christmas tree that hadn't yet been cleared from the town square in the eastern town of Bruntal was blown down, killing a 44-year old man. Later that same day, in the same town of Bruntal - a nine year old girl is in critical condition after a sheet of ice slid off a roof and hit her. This is the third incident where weather related accidents have injured people in the town of Bruntal. Last week melting snow slid off a roof, and killed a seventy-one year old pensioner walking by. Police in the area have said that anyone found guilty of not clearing snow and ice that results in bodily harm can face up to two years in prison.

But to end on a happier note - the summer weather has brought the Black bears at Prague zoo out of hibernation- but only for a sneak preview. The zoo's spokesperson says that the well rested bears awoke for a bask in the sun but despite the warm weather realised it was still winter and went back to bed.