EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Summertime … And The Living Is Distracting

  • August 24th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

greek-fire.jpgAs Summer goes on, topsy turvy weather continues — creating a distraction from the normal pleasures of the beach, the mountain air and long summer lunches.

Susie Lipscomb found turbulence still winning out over tranquility.

THE GREAT ESCAPE

People are still flocking to the beaches, sometimes just because they always go there; sometimes, now, to get away from fires, or even because it’s been much hotter than usual, even for this time of year … and then there’s the floods.

It’s all being blamed on climate change, and for whatever cause, the Summer since mid-July has produced a run of unseasonal flooding, drought, forest fires, and more than the usual share of heatwaves.

FLOODS COMING AND GOING

This week it was Germany’s turn, once more, for menacing floods

Waters have been rising in Bavaria, with the Naab River flooding homes and local media describing the situation as critical around the town of Kallmünz near Regensburg (23.8.07).

There’s been extensive flooding along the Main also, and in Eastern Germany along the Elbe. Authorities near Magdeburg were preparing to open flood gates onto a canal, to protect the city from inundation.

Emergency crews at work around the clock, sandbagging low-lying city areas in the Rhineland, have succeeded in keeping the worst of the floods out of Bonn, and also the old city area of Cologne.

It is the second year in a row in which Germany has been though a season of Summer floods; this year following up the unprecedented wet weather, and flooding, in the United Kingdom.

Paris last week (22.8.07) was under heavy rains, the northern two-thirds of France experiencing a wet Summer, by contrast with recent years of dry weather and extreme heat.

Meteorologists described the trend as normal enough; high pressure areas over the Atlantic Ocean this time have not not moved towards the European continent, so failing to displace a large low pressure area causing the rain. Similar patterns have occurred one year out of two during the last decade.

FIRES KEEP FLARING UP

Totally on the other side of the coin, the scourge of uncontrolled fires has continued in Greece.

In the latest emergency a wild fire South of Thessaloniki made people get out of their houses, camping grounds and beachside tourist hotels (22.8.07), and spend the night, for safety, crowding onto a beach.

Similar scenes were being played out in holiday areas along the Northern coast of Sicily, where three people were reported dead in forest fires (23.8.07); with emergency services calling in aerial water bombers to help control fresh outbreaks.

AID AND COMFORT

On top of the usual government services and emergency relief the European Commission has been extending a paternal, friendly hand towards citizens, reminding them of certain special assistance.

Those not immediately in fear for their lives, and inclined to sun themselves during the day, are being protected by the new regulations mandating stronger sunscreens and clearer labeling.

And for those whose time-share apartments are not in danger of burning down this year, Mother EU has flexed its muscles, coordinating a regime of new consumerist measures to protect unsuspecting renters from unscrupulous traders in the holiday real estate world.

All is not so sinister; true to tradition streets in major cities remained fairly empty this week.

Reference:

Deutsche Welle, German Floods (23.8.07).

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,739201,00.html

BBC; Tourists flee Greek forest fire (22.8.07), Wildfires sweep Northern Sicily (23.8.07). www.BBC.com (24.8.07)

L’ete humide …” (Wet Summer …), Le Monde, Paris, 25.8.07. http://www.lemonde.fr/ (26.8.07)

Picture: Forest fire – Greece; BBC — Jo Leaney

Leave a Reply