Rain stops play. Flooding on the outfield at the Kia Oval delays the cricket between Surrey and Durham [Getty]

Central and eastern Europe is having an early taste of summer with unseasonably high temperatures across much of the region. It’s a very different story in the west where drought affected parts of the continent are now dealing with heavy rain and in some cases flooding too.

April temperature records have been smashed in many parts with temperatures climbing well above the seasonal norm for many. The northern region of Lower Austria reported a record 32 Celsius and Vienna has seen temperature reach 28C which has drawn large crowds to the banks of the Danube.

Germany’s capital has also recorded temperatures in the low 30s and Prague experienced its hottest April 28th since 1800 with a top temperature of 27.7C. The heat also extended into Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and western Russia.

The summer weather was due to a strong southerly flow coming right out of Africa’s Sahara desert. It‘s otherwise known as a sirocco wind.

Further west it’s fair to say that the weather could not be more different. Weeks of heavy rain has led to flash floods in parts of Spain, France and the United Kingdom.

It’s been an incredibly wet April for much of the England and Wales, and the weekend downpours now mean that some parts have had their wettest April on record. The South East saw 42mm of rain and there was 55mm recorded in the South West, which has now had 166% of the average rainfall for April.

More rain is expected in the coming days and the Environment Agency is continuing to monitor river levels. They are also checking defences and clearing any potential blockages, such as fallen branches and debris to reduce the risk of flooding. That is necessary because not only has it been very wet, it’s also going very windy and some areas are expecting winds gusting to around 100 kph on Sunday.

It does seem strange to still be talking about drought and hosepipe bans, but groundwater levels do remain low despite the heavy and persistent rainfall. The soil remains very firm beneath the surface following the dry winter and very warm March just gone. As such, this increases the chance of flash floods because the water struggles to soak in and tends to run off the hard compact ground.

Source: Al Jazeera