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WEATHER

Heavy rain hits Bavaria and Lower Saxony

Violent storms have flooded swathes of Lower Saxony and Bavaria, filling streets and basements with water and leaving authorities struggling to cope.

Heavy rain hits Bavaria and Lower Saxony
Photo: DPA

Southern Bavaria around Munich was particularly hard hit, with police and fire fighters being called out more than 170 times to deal with flooded cellars and garages. Nobody was injured, despite the chaos.

Water washed away roads and sidewalks throughout the region, sending local officials scrambling to respond.

“The storm is the worst in recent years,” said Friedhelm Liwack, from Auetal, in Lower Saxony.

By Thursday afternoon, the situation had calmed, though there was a considerable mess to clean up.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

At one Munich shopping centre, water was one metre deep in places. Twenty shops remained closed. Authorities pumped water from a city centre hotel and the city museum. The chaos caused traffic jams on water-filled roads.

The storm started about 5 am with thunder and lightning. At times, 52 litres of rain fell per square metre each hour, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

The DWD predicted that the worst of the storms was over, though it predicted cool and soggy weather throughout Germany for the rest of the week. Thunderstorms are expected to break out from time to time.

DPA/The Local/mdm

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WILDFIRES

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

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