Europe hit by stormy weather

Snow, torrential rain and strong winds have caused disruption across the continent.

    Europe hit by stormy weather
    There are also concerns that exceptionally high tides will hamper the drainage of floodwaters into the rivers [AFP]

    It has been a rough few days, weather-wise, across many parts of Europe. Snow, torrential rain, huge seas and ongoing flooding problems have caused severe disruption in many parts of the continent.

    Flooding has been an issue for many parts of southern England over the last few weeks. It comes after what has been confirmed by the UK Met Office as the wettest January since records began in 1910.

    The low-lying Somerset levels have been submerged by floodwater since Christmas. Residents of several villages have been largely cut-off during this time. Many of them have been highly critical of the Environment Agency, the government body tasked with managing the rivers and flood defenses.

    Troops have been put on standby to help local emergency services. A deep area of low pressure accompanied by more heavy rain and strong winds currently battering the UK means they may still have to be deployed.

    The current bad weather, coincides with spring high tides and this has resulted in mountainous seas, which have hammered the coasts of the British Isles, France and Spain.

    There are also concerns that exceptionally high tides will hamper the drainage of floodwaters into the rivers. The UK Environment Agency has issued ‘severe’ flood warnings for tidal stretches of the River Severn which is the main catchment river for rain which falls on the Welsh Mountains.

    It is not just the UK which is struggling with the effects of stormy weather and high tides. In Italy, low pressure, strong winds and spring tides have combined to produce the ‘acqua-alta’ in Venice. Tourists to the famous landmarks had to use pontoons or face wading through the water lapping across St Mark’s Square.

    Other parts of Italy have suffered much worse flooding. Torrential rain dropped more than two months’ worth of rain on Rome in just two days. The River Tiber has overflowed causing considerable flooding to both Rome and Pisa.

    Further east, Serbia has been hit by blizzards which have brought northern and eastern parts of the country to a standstill. More than 1,000 motorists were reported stranded on the Novi Sad-Subotica expressway for more than 20 hours as snow drifted to a depth of 1.5 metres.

    Although the worst of the weather has eased across Serbia, heavy rain is likely to produce further flooding across Calabria, in the far south of Italy.

    Meanwhile, across the UK the spring tides will soon pass, but the unsettled weather will result in a continuation of the flooding problems for the foreseeable future.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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