Southern Germany flooded: “Where are these downpours coming from?”

“Catastrophic floods in southern Germany”, can we read on the front page of the German newspaper South German Zeitung this Monday, June 3, 2024. Dams destroyed, houses flooded, highways submerged, emergency services overwhelmed… As shown in the images below of the Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Bavarian public audiovisual service, the heavy rains of recent days have caused significant material and human damage in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, where 800 soldiers were deployed to help the population.

According to the Munich daily, a firefighter died during a rescue operation organized this weekend. Several people are missing. A train also derailed, without any passengers being injured. A situation “dramatic” which pushes the media to question itself in an analytical article : “Where did these downpours come from?”

“This kind of meteorological episode does not happen overnight, it is the result of a long process,” he believes. In this case, stratospheric disturbances were detected at the North Pole as early as March. And they would be at the origin of the chain of circumstances which led to the current surge of rain.

Regions taken by surprise

Despite everything, the phenomenon seems to have taken the Länder by surprise. Bavaria, in particular, devotes a significant part of its budget to the prevention of natural disasters. But in some villages in the region, “Attempts to stem the flooding with sandbags, pumps and drainage equipment simply failed”.

Questioned by the newspaper, meteorologist Helge Tuschy draws a parallel with the deadly floods which hit Germany in the summer of 2021. “In recent years, this type of event has been occurring more and more frequently,” he laments. According to him, it is still difficult to know to what extent global warming plays a role in accelerating floods. But, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, “it is certain that warmer air masses can store more moisture – before releasing it”.

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