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Storms and floods

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Graphic elementThe facts

Storms and floodsSince time immemorial, wind and torrential rain have marked the seasons according to the vagaries of the weather. Of course, Europe is spared the killer typhoons that regularly strike other parts of the globe, but, our continent is not entirely safe from large-scale disasters.
Northern Europe has many storms: every year, 100 cyclones hit the British Isles. These are often coupled with heavy rain, causing serious flooding. The coastlands of the North and Baltic Seas are particularly vulnerable, as are certain inland areas. In 1953, protective dikes crumbled, leaving a large proportion of The Netherlands flooded and 1,800 people dead.
Following abnormally abundant and persistent rainfall, spectacular and destructive floods have once again very recently affected many river basins in Europe. Everyone remembers the rise in water levels in the winter of 1994-1995, which affected Italy, Germany, Belgium, France and The Netherlands. In the summer of 1997, the River Oder overflowed its banks, causing serious damage in Central Europe.


Graphic elementAction

Storms and floodsHow can we prevent such tragedies? The research supported by the European Commission is focusing on prediction - with a view to prevention. Sustainable management of rivers has improved dramatically, mainly due to the possibility of analysing flood risks in real time. Using radar and modelling, rainfall, and its consequences, can be predicted more and more accurately. While this awareness of the risks will not entirely rule out floodwater damage, it at least enables public authorities to implement measures to protect the population.


Rivers overflowing
RIBAMOD, dozens of European researchers meet regularly to co-ordinate their action. They exchange information on the way in which floods spread and on effective methods of river management to prevent such disasters.

Storms and floods

Better communication
AFORISM has designed systems to facilitate decision-making in case of flooding. The project is based on communication between different partners whose cooperation is vital: meteorologists and hydrologists, decision-makers and scientists.

Predicting storms four days in advance
The FASTEX project studies how cyclones form in the North Atlantic and how they affect the European climate. The data, collected at different points, enables scientists to predict storms four days in advance.

Storms and floods

The economic dimension

FRAMEWORK, a project implemented only recently, draws up guiding principles for better integration of flood risks (and allocation of the finances necessary to reduce these) into town and regional planning strategies.


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