Sunday, 20 April 2014

Czechs tackle flood aftermath, rains to exceed average next month

10 June 2013

Prague, June 9 (CTK) - Bohemia, the western part of the Czech Republic, is step by step tackling the aftermath of a recent flood, with many people being still unable to return to their inundated homes, while forecasters predict heavy rains for the days to come and above-average precipitation until early July.

Thunderstorms, torrential rains and wind gusts are to hit the whole Czech Republic on Monday, and now and then they are to re-appear for the whole next week, experts from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMU) say.

As a result, streams in Bohemia may rise again, though probably not to an extent known from the past week, meteorologists say.

Mainly small streams might overflow, especially the Vltava's tributaries in south Bohemia, and its bigger left-bank tributaries the Otava and the Berounka, the CHMU said.

On Saturday evening, a thunderstorm caused a "flash flood" in Beloky, a village north of Prague, where a local small stream swelled fast and inundated several houses whose inhabitants were unprepared for a calamity.

Several people had to be promptly evacuated at night, regional firefighters' spokeswoman Lenka Kostkova told CTK.

As the two biggest Czech rivers, the Labe (Elbe) and the Vltava, continue subsiding, towns and villages are gradually reopening bridges, roads, railways and sites that were closed over inundation or were dangerous to enter.

Water is being pumped out of the inundated premises.

Nevertheless, flood-protection measures, such as mobile anti-flood barriers, will not be dismantled in view of the unfavourable weather forecasts.

There are only five places where the highest degree of flood-alert still persists, compared with ten on Saturday.

This concerns mainly towns on the still swollen Labe, such as central Bohemia's Melnik and north Bohemia's Usti nad Labem and Decin, and also the historical Cesky Krumlov on the upper reaches of the Vltava and Hamr on the Nezarka River, both south Bohemia.

The Kamenice River, the Labe's tributary that in the past days severely flooded the northernmost town of Hrensko, closely surrounded by sand towers, also continued subsiding Sunday.

Insurance companies daily register hundreds of claims lodged by flood-afflicted clients, their representatives have told CTK.

The Czech insurers' association on Thursday preliminarily estimated the damage at 7.5 billion crowns and the number of insurance claims at 96,000.

Prime Minister Petr Necas on Friday said the overall damage may reach to tens of billions of crowns.

The floods that broke out a week ago have claimed 10 lives.

In the period from June 10 to July 8, the precipitation in the Czech Republic will exceed the average with the 60-percent probability, the CHMU said Sunday.

The rains will be the heaviest in the weeks of June 17-23 and July 1-8, the experts said.

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